Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Referee farce angers Ballymena

On the attack: Owen Devlin of Queen's is felled by Danny Annett of Harlequins

There was a real fiasco at Armagh when no referee turned up to officiate at the Senior League game against Ballymena.

The Eaton Park squad of 25 players plus other officials and fans had travelled the 56 miles and wasted six hours of their time.

The referee appointed, Mark Patton, had to officiate at a European game and no substitute was allocated.

Peter McKenzie, the Ballymena Director of Rugby, was disgusted with the situation.

"This is the premier league in Ulster rugby and yet the Ulster Branch cannot provide a referee," he said.

"It's not the first time this has happened to us. Our seconds travelled again to Armagh last season and no referee turned up.

"How can a Senior League game be forgotten about? It is unbelievable."

There was also controversy at Judge's Road where City of Derry defeated Dungannon 76-0.

The Stevenson Park club, who are at home to Derry in the First Trust Senior Cup on Saturday, fielded a well-below strength team and the experiment backfired.

They were giving their key players a rest and it was supposed to be a learning curve but turned out to be too steep for the youngsters to deal with.

Derry ran in 12 tries for Neil Burns to convert eight. Andrew Semple (4), Josh Lewis (3), Richard Baird (2), Simon Logue, Chris Cooper and Jack Caithness were the scorers.

Ballynahinch and Rainey are joint-leaders with the former overcoming Ards 52-0. Rainey suffered their first league defeat against Banbridge 37-31, but still gained two bonus points.

In a tight game, Queen's, with a Damon Hall try and two penalties and a conversion from Justin Rea, narrowly accounted for Belfast Harlequins 13-10. The visitors had a Josh Fullerton try which Liam Cambridge converted after he kicked an earlier penalty.

Malone had a 32-0 success against Instonians. Tries came from Richard Miller, Jack McMurtry, Ben McDonald and Rab Haldane, who also had a penalty and a conversion. Rudi Benade contributed a try and conversion.