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Braid flying the flag as Quins and Ballynahinch crash

By Michael Sadlier

Published 04/01/2016

Seven-try win: Andy Graham
Seven-try win: Andy Graham

A New Year but a largely familiar take on things with Ballymena being the only one of the three Ulster clubs in the upper two divisions managing to win.

And what a victory it was for the Division 1B side pressing hard for promotion as the Braidmen annihilated Old Wesley 48-0 at Eaton Park for a clean sweep over the Leinster side after seeing them off in the first of the back-to-back meetings last month down in Dublin.

Andy Graham's men ran in seven tries to keep themselves two behind leaders St Mary's College, the same number clear of Dublin University in third and now a sizeable 14 ahead of Old Wesley who are looking out of touch in fourth spot.

Winger James Beattie led the rout with a brace of tries while the five other scores came from Clive Ross, John Andrew, James Gallagher, Callum Patterson - the centre's sixth of the season - and a penalty try.

Out-half Andy Magrath kicked four of the conversions and added a penalty while Patterson also converted one in a game which saw the Braidmen lead 29-0 at half-time.

As usual, there was no such luck for bottom side Belfast Harlequins who lost 38-13 at leaders St Mary's with the Deramore side yet to win a game after a crippling 10 straight reverses.

Their prospects of recovery to avoid the drop now look even more unlikely as they are 15 points adrift of the safety zone.

Quins, who were only 10-6 behind at the break, could only manage two Mark Best penalties and a late try from replacement Jonathan Siri which was converted by Ben Sloan.

In 1A, basement team Ballynahinch's bid to follow up their first win of the season, when they beat Lansdowne at Ballymacarn Park last time out, was undone on the Dublin side's artificial surface with the visitors losing 29-24.

To their credit Hinch fought back from being 24-9 down to claim a losing bonus point and finished the day with tries from Adam Craig and Conor Joyce along with a conversion and four penalties from Chris Quinn.

Even so, Hinch are nine behind Terenure who are a place above them and 11 back from safety.

Belfast Telegraph

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