Ulster Senior League: Ballymena leave the way clear for rivals
Victories for Ballynahinch and Dungannon strengthened their First Trust Senior League positions but defeat for Ballymena, their second of the competition, has diminished their chances of lifting the title.
A gallant Ards managed to hold Dungannon to a 10-10 scoreline after 63 minutes before the more senior team scored three late converted tries 31-10. Michael Lawton contributed more than half of the points with a try, a penalty and conversions to all four tries.
There was another convincing win for Hinch, this time against Banbridge 26-10, who have maximum points from their five games. Bann made up for their recent 77-0 Cup defeat with a determined first half in which they managed to hold their more senior opponents to only a 12-10 interval lead.
There was little excitement in a dour struggle at Eaton Park where Ballymena, without nine regulars, lost to Belfast Harlequins 19-13.
In contrast there was plenty of action at Hatrick Park where a rejuvenated Rainey made Instonians fight all the way before the visitors emerged 32-23 winners.
Mark O'Connor didn’t miss a kick all afternoon and some where from close to touch when he had three penalties and conversions to both his own and Simon Derby's tries.
The try of the match was undoubtedly that from Inst winger Josh Devitt. Back from injury last week he scored twice against Naas but this effort was even better. He gathered inside his own half and with sheer speed evaded five tackles to go in and give his team the lead for the first time. Curtis Stewart and David Bradford also touched down for while full-back Scott Browne had a try, three conversions and two penalties.
In the remaining game Queen's were too strong for a disappointing Malone, going down 28-8.