Controversy as Ards game against Portadown abandoned due to weather

Uumpire Christine Reid discusses conditions with Pamela Gilpin, Portadown captain and Naomi Elliott, Ards captain
Uumpire Christine Reid discusses conditions with Pamela Gilpin, Portadown captain and Naomi Elliott, Ards captain

Just one match in the top two tiers of Ulster women’s hockey survived the wintry weather as North Down defeated Larne 2-1 in Senior One at the Co Antrim venue.

But there was a controversial premature end to the game at Ards Leisure Centre where the home team’s game with Portadown was abandoned after less than eight minutes.

The visitors were unhappy with the conditions and the umpires called the match off with Ards leading 1-0.

However, Ards were aggrieved by the decision which almost certainly cost them the chance to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

They showed enough in the opening seven and a half minutes to suggest they would have won the game with a degree of comfort.

“I told the umpire that the decision was a disgrace and added that nothing had changed since the start of the match,” said angry Ards manager Phil Mills.

“The pitch was fine in our view and we practised for half an hour on it when the game was called off.

“We could have understood if it had been postponed before the start for safety reasons but to do so after less than eight minutes was baffling.

“No one slipped or fell and we certainly had no problems with the surface so it was extremely disappointing.”

Portadown captain Nicola Gilpin begged to differ with the Ards take on things and she was happy with the umpires’ decision.

“The lines were frozen and slippy and we weren’t able to go full-on into our tackles so it was the correct decision as far as we are concerned,” she said.

Ards took the lead after less than two minutes when Emma Reid drifted into the circle and unleashed a superb reverse stick shot which flew into the net.

Meanwhile, Olivia Brown and Bethan Brittain got the goals which keep North Down in promotion contention after that 2-1 win at Larne, whose reply came from Zoe Purdy.