Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 31 May 2016

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Belfast Harlequins save face for Ulster strugglers


Published 04/11/2013

Mark Lettyle on the attack for Harlequins
Mark Lettyle on the attack for Harlequins

At least this week there was no repeat of the Ulster whitewash, yet only one club managed to get the better of their opponents which was still hardly a great return from the weekend.

While Belfast Harlequins finally came good at the fourth time of asking in Division 1B, there were no celebrations around Dungannon, Malone nor, indeed, up in Division 1A where Ballynahinch fell to their fourth straight reverse.

Hinch lost 21-14 at home to last season's champions Lansdowne, though they did admirably battle back from trailing 21-0 at half-time to at least snaffle a losing bonus point in the difficult playing conditions at Ballymacarn Park.

Tries from Paul Pritchard and Adam Craig, which were both converted by Ritchie Lobb, got the Co Down side back into the game but they failed to prevent Lansdowne from finishing ahead.

Hinch now sit two points ahead of basement club Garryowen.

At least there was something more tangibly positive to be gleaned from a rain-lashed Deramore as Quins got their all-important first AIL win at the fourth time of asking when they overcame Blackrock College 18-6.

The victory propelled Quins up to fifth from what had been a lowly ninth in the table and came as an obvious relief for coach Adam Larkin.

"Yes, we did this the hard way but hopefully we'll progress on from here," said Larkin.

A first half try from hooker Tom Fraser along with a penalty from out half Liam Cambridge put Quins 8-3 in front but three missed kicks from Cambridge looked to have been costly.

After a scrappy and edgy second-half, Quins managed to find their feet with a strong finish. Cambridge nailed a superb drop goal with eight minutes left and then Quins' excellent lineout maul finally delivered when number eight Frank Taggart scored in the dying minutes.

This time, Cambridge slotted the extras and Quins had their long-awaited victory in the bag.

Dungannon really needed to deliver something at home to Corinthians but the Connacht side took their unbeaten record to four games after finishing 24-16 winners. Gannon are now ninth.

Malone fell to their third successive defeat as unbeaten leaders Terenure College triumphed 27-10 in Dublin. The defeat leaves Malone in eighth.

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