It was a win, and probably a significant investment for Belfast Harlequins’ top two aspirations, yet there was a lingering feeling of frustration around Deramore on Saturday evening.
On the face of it things had gone pretty well. After all DLSP had been seen off 22-7 and Quins had just registered their third league win on the bounce to take them to fourth in the table, but, on closer inspection, Andy Ward’s men had failed to invest in a bonus point and knew that their failure to do so was largely thanks to their own profligacy.
The game had started brightly enough with an early Richard Reaney penalty being supplemented by a penalty try after the Quins’ eight had demolished the visitors’ scrum. Centre Michael Allen then grabbed a loose ball and ran in from long range to give Reaney his second conversion to put Quins 17 points up
As the game lost shape, though, Quins found themselves unable to keep the scoreboard ticking over in the way they would have liked. There were knock-ons galore and Reaney missed a penalty before, with DLSP replacement Alan Costigan in the bin, Quins finally carved their way through with Colin Atkinson providing the assist for William Stewart’s try four minutes after the hour.
Reaney failed to add the extras and Quins’ error-rate continued to spiral with Paul Marshall, rumoured to be losing his Ulster contract, wasting a valuable penalty chance.
Elsewhere, in Division Two, Malone were at Dublin University but found themselves coming home on the back of a sound 30-10 beating.
Meanwhile, up in Division 1B, Ballymena got the better of UCC and the snowy conditions at Eaton Park to win 19-10 with Davy O’Hara scoring 16 points in the Braidmen’s final total.
Dungannon missed out at Young Munster, losing 13-12, with James Shiels kicking all their points — though missing several efforts which would have fashioned a hugely important win — while Ryan Bambry’s boot did likewise for Ballynahinch who went down 15-12 at Galwegians.