Ards struggling in Europe while Elks prosper

Chloe Brown
Chloe Brown

There were contrasting fortunes for Ards and the Ulster Elks on the national and European stage in both indoor and outdoor competitions.

The Elks qualified for Irish Senior Cup Final when they beat crack Dublin side Railway Union in the semi finals, winning 6-5 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out with Megan Frazer scoring the all-important winner.

But Ards fell to a third consecutive defeat at the European Indoor Trophy tournament in Vienna, losing 7-2 to Dundee Wanderers.

Goals from Chloe Brown and Zara Malseed put Ards 2-0 up but Dundee replied with the next seven, five of them after the interval.

On Friday, Ards had opened with a 9-2 defeat to host side Arminem and then fell to a 6-2 loss against RITM Grodno of Belarus. 

 Brown, leading scorer with 22 in six matches last season, was to the fore with three of Ards´ four goals.

 “Today was always going to be tough, being in the higher división for the first time and playing against two top sides.” said Ards captain Naomi Elliott.

 “We competed okay in both matches but were undone by some lethal penalty corner finishing although we did well in open play so we´ll take the positives.”

Despite those opening defeats, all is far from lost,  and to add to their chances of survival in the second tier as reigning Irish champions, only one nation will be relegated.

And that means that Ards could stay up with just one victory from their remaining  matches.

In fact it could boil down to a winner takes all clash with Croatian side HAHK Mladost in their final game on Sunday in the Austrian capital.

Ards beat them en route to winning the third tier tournament last year and their relegation rivals also lost both their games yeterday.

In Friday´s opener Ards trailed 4-0 at half time before Brown struck her first and she then netted a late consolation after the Austrians had gone into a 9-1 lead.

Later in the day, goals from Amy Benson and Brown helped Ards twice come from behind to draw level at 2-2 with Grodno at half time but the Belarusssians hit four without reply after the break.

Sunday: Royal Antwerp (Belgium) v Ards (8.10am); Ards v HAHK Mladost (Croatia) (11.40am).