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Testing times lie ahead as Ballynahinch and Ballymena edge their way closer to the drop zone

All-Ireland League

By Michael Sadlier

It looks like Ballynahinch and Ballymena will not only end their campaigns well outside the play-offs but also with serious concerns of finishing at the wrong end of the table.

Defeats for both sides last weekend - with depleted selections due to call-ups for Ulster 'A' - now sees Hinch worryingly drop to seventh with the Braidmen just a place above them.

Hinch lost 28-14 at home to Old Wesley and are now just six ahead of ninth-placed Galgwegians though they do have a game in hand at Naas.

Ballymena were defeated 18-16 at bottom side Dolphin with Richie McMaster kicking three penalties and the conversion of James Gallagher's try.

Andy Graham's side did, though, snaffle a valuable bonus point with three to play but these are anxious times for both clubs.

Leaders Banbridge kept up their push for the 2A title by hammering Malone 51-15 at Rifle Park where Adam Ervine managed a hat-trick of tries as the home side managed to run in seven touchdowns in securing another Ulster derby triumph.

Malone remain in fourth but now face a battle with Queen's University to secure a place in the play-offs.

Fifth-placed Queen's could only manage a losing bonus point as they went down 23-17 to Nenagh at the Dub while bottom side Belfast Harlequins won only their second game by seeing off Blackrock 9-7.

It continues to be tight at the top of 2B where Armagh and new leaders Greystones are both tied on 60 points.

Alex McCloy's men were victorious 22-18 at Barnhall but Greystones took over at the top via a healthier points differential following their 57-22 result at relegation battling City of Derry.

Dungannon stayed in sixth after beating bottom side Thomond 39-10.

In 2C, Rainey's 23-11 loss at Seapoint means that John Andrews' side are fighting to stay in third with Tullamore just four behind them thanks to the Leinster side winning 22-10 at Bangor which leaves the Seasiders in eighth.

Div 1B: Hinch 14 O. Wesley 28, Dolphin 18 Ballymena 16, Naas 21 Shannon 14, UCC 13 Buccs 12, UL Bohs 18 Galwegians 16

Div 2A: Banbridge 51 Malone 15, B. Harlequins 9 Blackrock 7, Cashel 14 Sunday's Well 5, Highfield 22 Corinthians 10, QUB 17 Nenagh 23

Div 2B: Bective 13 Wanderers 26, Derry 22 Greystones 57, Dungannon 39 Thomond 10, Barnhall 18 Armagh 22, O. Crescent 39 Skerries 15

Div 2C: Bangor 10 T'more 22, Midleton 30 Boyne 10, Navan 41 Kanturk 0, Seapoint 23 Rainey 11, Sligo 32 Bruff 5.

Belfast Telegraph

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