Ulster Senior League: Familiar faces already out in front
Two weeks of the Ulster Senior League have been completed and the League table already has a familiar look with the champions Dungannon, Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins all on a maximum ten points closely followed by Ballymena on nine.
At the bottom Ards, Rainey, Banbridge and Malone are still pointless and, although the Gibson Park team have faced formidable opposition in Quins 15-46 and Dungannon 3-56, their performances have been disappointing with 12 tries conceeded.
Dungannon have already accumulated 114 points including that success over Malone. Injuries to their half-backs Cieran Campbell and Jason Bloomfield hampered them in the first half although they did lead 23-3 at the interval. After the restart they piled on the pressure and three quick converted tries made it 44-3. They totalled seven with Michael Lawton only missing the one kick all afternoon. He had 26 points with a try, three penalties and six conversions.
Queen's Chris Quinn was three points better than Lawton with three tries, four conversions and two penalties in Queen's 39-25 victory over Banbridge at Rifle Park. Bann took a ten point advantage when Robin Thompson converted a Ryan Patterson try and added a penalty and they were still in front at the halfway stage 25-22. Gradually the students took over with full-back Quinn adding 12 more points.
Belfast Harlequins defeated City of Derry 28-17 which will give them a psychological advantage when the two meet again on Saturday in the first round of the Senior Cup.
Derry led 17-0 after as many minutes with the home side coming back to 7-17 at half-time. Quins, with a player 'yellow carded' in each half, dominated the second period helped by some weak tackling and added three more converted tries. Hinch march on with another five point win, this time at the expense of Rainey 31-10, at Ballymacarn Park. Ballymena kept in contention with a convincing 74-3 successs against Ards at Eaton Park.
Too much possession and pace allowed Ballymena to stretch the opposition and total 12 tries with Garrett Bell scoring three and Alastair Fraser and Caolann Fitzpatrick two each. Ards have still to cross an opponent's line.
Armagh, following their convincingly victory over Ards in their first Senior League outing found the going somewhat more difficult when Instonians came out on top 32-8 at Palace Grounds.