There was never any doubting what the weekend’s most significant clash was likely to be with the Division Two Ulster derby between Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins always getting top billing.
What was more unexpected was that ‘Hinch were made to dig very deep to claim an 18-15 victory.
Two tries from Michael Graham alongside a conversion and two penalties from Ryan Bambry ensured that ‘Hinch bounced back from last week’s first taste of defeat at UCD.
Quins, though probably pleased to come away with a losing bonus point, will still be disappointed that though they managed to cross the home side’s line three times — with tries from Alistair Heatley, Matthew Holmes and Mark McGrath – they were unable to add any of the extras and that proved costly.
Quins remain third in the table, but are 10 points adrift of ‘Hinch who have now slipped to second, one point shy of new leaders UCD who registered an expected bonus point win at bottom club Clonakilty.
Ballymena were badly in need of a response after their shock defeat at Malone.
John Andrews’ men got what they required as they beat Dublin University 26-19 at Eaton Park to maintain hopes of an all-important top four finish.
The result, which included a try from Jamie Smith, rewarded them with a solitary point and puts them one place behind Bective who are in fourth and a point behind Quins.
Elsewhere in Division Two, Queen’s University found the going too tough at DLSP, the home side coming out on top 15-14 after the students had led 14-0 with converted tries from David McIlwaine and Ian Henderson.
Malone were unable to replicate last weekend’s heroics as they were beaten 30-17 at Thomond, Mark McCrea’s two tries being the Belfast side’s only highlight.
In Division 1B, Dungannon’s attempt to get back to winning ways proved beyond them in Dublin as Lansdowne scored five tries in their 39-10 triumph.
A Conor Gaston try and a Michael Lawton conversion and penalty were all ‘Gannon could muster and a second successive defeat puts them second bottom.