The match video is unlikely to rate highly when it comes to entertainment value, the appalling conditions having a huge input into Saturday’s fare at Deramore, but it would certainly be worth a look to see again just how Belfast Harlequins’ scrum-half Paul Marshall managed to embark on a bizarre solo run to bamboozle the Wanderers’ defence to end up scoring the unlikeliest of tries.
With 11 minutes of normal time remaining, and Quins having watched their 15-3 half-time lead whittled back to a mere five points, Marshall got the ball on a rare sortie into the visitors’ 22 and broke right looking to link up with the backline.
The Ulster contracted player exchanged a pass with centre Rory Blake-Knox before, with seemingly no options, running sideways and then backwards from the onrushing defenders towards the Wanderers’ 10 metre line.
With his team mates doubtless having palpitations, and the opposition lining the isolated Marshall up for a certain turnover, he somehow managed to halt his retreat and jink through the various tacklers before kicking over the remaining cover to win the chase for an individual try that left all who witnessed it open-mouthed in astonishment.
Keith Pyper’s conversion bounced wide off an upright and then with Wanderers managing to score and convert a Niall McNamara try, five minutes into injury time, Quins were easily able to quantify the value of Marshall’s moment of inspiration as they clung on to win 20-17.
First-half tries from Chris McCarey and Blake-Knox laid the foundations for Quins’ second consecutive league win, but Wanderers had more in the tank and though a penalty try got them back in the game, Quins, now in fifth spot in Division Two, will be more than thankful McNamara managed to miss two penalties.
Also in Division Two, Ballynahinch continued setting the pace with another thumping bonus point win, this time seeing off Thomond 40-8 in appalling conditions at Ballymacarn Park.
‘Hinch scored five tries – from Willy Faloon, Gareth Rourke, Ryan Bambry, Johnny Cullen and Aaron Ferris – to take their unbeaten record to five games and give them a four point lead in the table over nearest rivals Bruff.
Meanwhile, the Co Limerick side managed to halt Malone’s winning run with a battling 9-3 result at Gibson Park, while at Shaws Bridge, Instonians remain bottom of the table, and still without a point, after UCC finished 28-20 ahead.
It was a day of positive outcomes in the top flight where both Ballymena and Dungannon achieved home wins to manoeuvre themselves further away from the danger zone.
Ballymena overcame the elements and UL Bohemians 14-9, the only try of the game coming in the first half from winger Tommy Seymour while Dungannon saw off Dolphin 22-16 with James Bates, John McGuckin and Paul Magee crossing for tries which elevates the Tyrone side to ninth in the table.