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Ballynahinch start defence of title in the right way

By Ronnie Ingram

The weather dictated the pattern of play at Ballymacarn Road but a second half try allowed Ballynahinch to take the first step towards the defence of their Senior League title with a 12-9 victory over Ballymena.

The heavy rain and wind limited the amount of open play but Hinch, by virtue of their two tries, probably deserved their success.

It was former Ballymena player Roger McBurney who started the move for the first try and scored it.

If anything the wind later strengthened and Hinch launched kick after kick at their opponents but their new full-back Sean Taylor was sure under the ball.

The former Preston Grasshopper certainly kept his team in the game right to the end. Hinch had a strong scrum and although the visitors did win a couple of turnover balls their three-quarters were seldom in action.

Eventually the pressure had to tell and Aaron Cairns broke through and scored close to touch for former Armagh player Richard Reaney to add the conversion.

Ballymena had one last opportunity to level with the last kick of the game but the left-footed McMaster was kicking from the more difficult side of the pitch and the ball swung across the posts.

"It was a tough challenge for us and we have learnt some things which will be beneficial as the AIL is less than a fortnight away" concluded Pete McKenzie Ballymena's Director of Rugby.

Queen's and Malone were both understrength but it was the visitors that came out on top at Upper Malone 27-15.

"We had a good run out but the main thing was that we suffered no further injuries," stated Queen's Director of Rugby Robbie Moore.

Malone, with a 17-5 interval advantage had tries by Hugo Harbinson (2), Michael Barker, John Burns and Lee Barlow for a bonus point. Josh Pentland converted one while Johnny Milliken, Andrew Butler and Johnny Craig touched down for the students.

In the other games City of Derry lost to Armagh 24-10, Rainey lost 22-17 at Dungannon while Ards were defeated 66-0 at Banbridge.

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