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Ballymena centre Best on mend following collapse during game

By Michael Sadlier

Even though Ballynahinch got back to winning ways in Cork, all the attention was drawn to Eaton Park where a worrying incident involving Ulster squad member Mark Best halted play for a lengthy time during Ballymena's clash with league leaders Buccaneers.

Best had shipped a blow to the head early on in the game which was then stopped for half an hour after the centre collapsed on the pitch.

The 22-year-old was taken to hospital but was later released after undergoing various scans and all thankfully seems well as Best later tweeted: "Thanks for all the messages, all good in terms of X-rays and out of hospital".

Though Best's condition must have been on the his fellow players' minds, Ballymena still managed to lead 13-3 at the turnaround through tries from Bryan Young and James Beattie.

But the home side were unable to score again as Buccs racked up 15 unanswered points, though there was controversy at the end when the Braidmen had a more than decent shout for a penalty try.

Their losing bonus point from this 18-13 defeat keeps Ballymena in fourth ahead of travelling to meet Buccs again in January's next round of games.

With the pressure on them to halt their slump in form, Hinch well and truly delivered with a bonus point victory at Dolphin, the Co Down side running out 35-19 winners.

This time it fell to scrum-half Angus Lloyd to secure their bonus try with the Ulster squad member - who is on short-term loan with Munster - diving over in the final minute to seal the deal, though the game was already won anyway.

Derek Suffern's squad had trailed 12-11 at the break with their solitary first half try coming from Chris Stevenson. But five minutes after the restart, Hinch found their scoring touch with Jonny Murphy being driven over and Chris Quinn adding the extras.

That seemed to be the turning point as, 10 minutes later, James Simpson dotted down after a lineout drive with Quinn's conversion giving the visitors a 25-12 lead.

A penalty from Quinn, who ended the day kicking 15 of Hinch's, put Suffern's side 28-12 to the good and, though Dolphin did get a late try and conversion, the groundwork for this vital victory had been done.

Div 1B: Old Wesley 19 Naas 16 (Fri), Ballymena 13 Buccaneers 18, Dolphin​ 19 Ballynahinch​ 35, Galwegians​ 53 ​Shannon 12​,​ UL Bohemian​ 18 UCC 17

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