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Ballymena in search of a quick fix

By Michael Sadlier

Played five, won one and lost four - Ballymena's record makes far from comfortable reading and swift action is required to lift the club away from being third from bottom in the table.

A mere six points ahead of basement side Grafton Belfast Harlequins - and on equal points, but with a superior points differential, to second from bot tom UCD -the Braidmen's home clash with Dolphin has one of those 'must win' tags surrounding it.

Four points tomorrow, albeit against a side currently residing at seventh in the table, would certainly boost morale ahead of next week's home clash against struggling Terenure and allow the Braidmen - who have at least picked up three bonuses along the way - move into a far less stressful zone.

Ballymena have selected Scott Young at out-half, after he failed to make the cut for Mark McCall's squad, and the Ulster player should bring his experience to bear in the number 10 shirt.

Elsewhere, injuries in the wake of last week's defeat at Lansdowne have taken their toll with 'Pat' Steenkamp definitely out with rib damage while, also in the front row, Tom Court is a doubtful starter with a calf problem. Adie Kirkpatrick replaces Steenkamp while Simon Shawe is on standby to come in for Court.

In the backs, Dirkie Strydom may miss tomorrow with an Achilles strain, with Chris Smith set to cover at full back. On a more positive note for Jacques Benade, Ian Caldwell returns to action in the pack.

Harlequins have a huge ask ahead of them as they seek their first win while hosting sixth placed Clontarf. The Deramore side make one change to their starting line up from last week's reverse at Garryowen with Paul McKenzie in the centre.

Dungannon also face a formidable challenge away to UL Bohemians and have Adam Larkin, Ryan Caldwell and Nigel Brady available.

In Division Two, Malone entertain fellow strugglers DLSP in a game they must win to pull away from being third from bottom. Mark McCrea and Philip Coulter are still missing and major doubts surround Tommy Horner and Richard Fegan.

Belfast Telegraph

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