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Ballynahinch have the power in cup

By Jonathan Bradley

Ballynahinch II advanced to the quarter-finals of the Powerade Towns Cup with an impressive 15-6 win over Dromore at Barban Hill.

The home side have been in fine form of late, thanks to a run of wins that began back in early December lifting them up to third in Kukri Qualifying 1, but tries from Zack McCall, captain James McBriar and Connor Piper ensured that it was Hinch who moved to the competition's last eight.

Having already secured the Junior Cup with a win over Ballyclare at Ravenhill back in December, Chris Parker's side are aiming to secure a knock-out double and McBriar thinks it is well within their grasp.

Following the win, the try-scoring out-half said: "At the start of the season we would have been targeting both the cup competitions so this is a focus for us for the rest of the year.

"We've already got the one cup so it's good to get through here and we'll hopefully go on a run in this one too but we just need to wait and see who we get in the next round.

"The conditions were unbelievable so it was impossible to get any continuity. We just had to play the conditions.

"Thankfully we were able to do that and got the tries to win."

After a downpour just hours prior to kick-off, the fact that the game went ahead at all was a credit to the home club but the driving rain had left the pitch in a deteriorating state.

Running rugby was therefore rendered an impossibility and the opening exchanges were dominated by the forwards.

Ryan Cobb opened the scoring with an early penalty for Dromore after the visitors were pinged at a ruck but strong tackling was immediately required by De Wet Bekker's side in order to hold onto the lead.

When Hinch's breakthrough did come, it followed a scrappy passage of play that ended with number eight McCall pouncing on a loose ball and streaking up the sideline to score after narrowly avoiding the tackle of full-back Aaron Stewart.

McBriar pushed his testing conversion across the front of the posts to leave his side in a 5-3 lead.

Another try would come soon after and once again the conditions played their part. A bouncing ball in midfield was hacked forward by flanker Jordan McMullen, with James McBriar showing an equally adept touch with his foot to advance the ball further.

The out-half chased down his own kick and, using the wet weather to his advantage, finished with a lengthy slide to cross the line and touch down.

Dromore attempted to mount a quick response but, despite advancing the ball deep inside the opposition 22, the attack ended when Chris Jenks was held up over the line.

They reduced the deficit to four points following another penalty from Cobb but the half ended with a lengthy shot at the posts from the out-half drifting just too far to the left.

After the turn, it was the forwards who produced the only score of the half with what was the best move of the game.

Prop Stuart Orr produced a sidestep rarely associated with a player of his position to create the space and after a series of accurate passes it was hooker Connor Piper who barged his way over.

Elsewhere in the competition, Clogher Valley beat Ballyclare 37-10, and there were also wins for Donaghadee, Omagh, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Bangor while Ballymena 2s advanced to the next round after their game with UUC was cancelled.

Belfast Telegraph


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