Belfast Harlequins V Ballynahinch

By Stephen Bourke

Ballynahinch were never behind in their 13-18 victory over Quins in the first round of the First Trust Bank Senior Cup at Deramore Park.  Two unconverted tries in the first half put the visitors 3-10 in front at the break with the first try coming in the 29th minute.

Hinch enjoyed much of the territorial advantage in the first 25 minutes of the game and when Mark Glover was sin-binned for allegedly not releasing in the tackle, using the one-man advantage, Paddy Wright rounded off a superb passing move to score in the right-hand corner.  The same player then added his second score in similar fashion a few minutes later.  Ben Sloan slotted over a consolatory penalty after Hinch infringed again at a ruck. 

Five minutes into the second half, Richard Reaney went in on the left corner for Hinch’s third try with referee, Lee Evans, not sighting the foot-in-touch despite protestations from players and supporters alike – this try also went unconverted. 

Forward pressure from the Quins pack was justly rewarded when Neil Montgomery forced his way over from close quarters with Ben Sloan adding the conversion to bring the score to 10-15.  Quins were now starting to get amongst the Hinch team with Ben Sloan being agonisingly hauled down a metre short of the goal line and Christian Bennison and Matthew Robinson making forays deep into the opposition 22.  The pressure paid some dividend and with Hinch consistently leaking penalties at the breakdown, Ben Sloan kicked his second penalty narrowing the score line to 13-15.  Nonetheless, Hinch piled on some pressure after the restart and were rewarded with a straightforward penalty in front of the Quins posts which James McBriar converted to make the score 13-18.  Quins finished the game strongly but hadn’t sufficient time left on the clock to make any further impact on the score line.    

This was an entertaining encounter with the home crowd very encouraged by the doggedness of the Quins team to a man and augers well for the league campaigns ahead.  There was structure to the Quins defence and attack which was pleasing and, despite losing, both the players and coach Nick Wells had many positives to take away from the game.