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Belfast Harlequins hit by another loss against Dolphin

By Michael Sadlier

Published 19/10/2015

Running free: Ballymena’s Matthew Harkness heads for the line against Blackrock
Running free: Ballymena’s Matthew Harkness heads for the line against Blackrock

The mood was decidedly downbeat at Deramore after Belfast Harlequins had slumped to their fifth straight defeat in just five AIL games played.

And with them now sitting bottom of Division 1B and already playing like a side bereft of confidence and composure, it looks as if this could now be a fairly traumatic campaign.

The essence of the problem for Quins in losing out 24-11 to Dolphin was that they not only failed to capitalise on their early dominance, and 6-0 lead, but then also still imploded when eventually coming back into the game.

Indeed, after conceding a head-wrecking 24 points without reply, Quins largely took control for the last half hour but through their own failings somehow avoided either digging out a losing bonus point or even possibly snatching the result.

Quins coach Adam Larkin could only wonder at it all.

"When games get tight we splinter," he said.

"The guys are almost trying too hard and as a result forgetting to do the basics as a team."

After lamenting Quins hitting the panic button as they tried to build on Mark Glover's 71st minute try along with the period of uncontested scrums when Quins were dominant and the home side's lack of discipline - they had Mark Best and Josh Davidson binned in either half while Dolphin also had two yellow carded - Larkin admitted that his men were second best by some margin.

"Look the score doesn't lie and it flatters us a bit. We're in a pretty tough spot at the moment but we've got to fight on," Larkin said.

While Quins were floundering, Ballymena hit the top of the table when they whacked Blackrock College 43-13 at Eaton Park.

This was the Braidmen's fifth straight win and Andy Graham's squad are now the only unbeaten team in 1B. They scored six tries with Connor Smyth getting two and Matthew Harkness, Adam McBurney, Callum Patterson and Martin Irwin all crossing.

Up in 1A, it just gets grimmer looking for Ballynahinch as they lost 34-29 at home to fellow strugglers Young Munster.

Bottom side Hinch - who have lost all five games - admirably fought back from trailing 34-3 to earn themselves two bonus points though they are still six adrift of Young Munster in the table.

Robin Harte, Zac McCall, Craig Trenier and a penalty try all revived Hinch but it was all just too late.

Belfast Telegraph

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