Ballynahinch high and dry
The tale of Ballynahinch's bid for Division One status acquired a new twist over the weekend after Highfield refused to travel for today's rescheduled game at Ballymacarn Park.
It's now over to the IRFU to again find a suitable date rather than automatically award 'Hinch the points due to their ongoing battle with Lansdowne to grab the second promotion spot.
Regardless of what is decided 'Hinch did themselves few favours after they failed to bag a bonus point win over Instonians on Saturday.
The AIB Cup holders had hoped to see off basement side Instonians with maximum points, but Derek Suffern’s men were made to dig deep before prevailing 25-12; but with only three tries to their name as Jonny Cullen grabbed two after Nevin Spence crossed the Inst line early in a second-half dominated by ’Hinch.
Third-placed ’Hinch now sit eight points behind Lansdowne with their game in hand against Highfield and Saturday's match at Clonakilty to come.
’Hinch will be looking for two bonus point wins and Lansdowne to lose without a bonus at Dublin University to let ’Hinch creep past them and win promotion.
It seems a long shot for the County Down side and as yet, it is unknown quite how 'Hinch's outstanding game with Highfield will be sorted out.
’Hinch certainly needed Malone to do them a huge favour in Dublin and though the Gibson Park side put up a battling effort at second-placed Lansdowne before going down 34-12, the home side got their all-important bonus point seven minutes into injury time.
As for Instonians, they now return to Division Three after only securing promotion last season and subsequently winning a paltry one game in 14 outings.
Also in Division Two, a weakened Belfast Harlequins gave stand-in coach Andy Ward little of worth to mark his arrival as they conceded five tries in their 34-13 home defeat to Dublin University.
It’s been an anxious end to the season for the Deramore faithful as they find themselves flirting with the drop zone, however, Wanderers’ defeat at DLSP looks to be enough to ensure ’Quins’ safety.
In Division One, Dungannon secured their top flight status for another season after derailing Blackrock College 22-14 at Stevenson Park, with Nigel Brady grabbing two tries, while Ballymena’s difficulties continued with their 22-0 home reverse at the hands of Clontarf.