Ballynahinch's survival hopes boosted by spirited win
It was certainly an improvement on the last time as two of the four Ulster clubs managed to come away with valuable victories with Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins taking standard issue wins to bolster their campaigns.
Not that there will much momentum on offer now for the winners as the AIL breaks until the penultimate weekend of the month while Malone – who lost narrowly at Corinthians, but in doing so tumbled to their eighth straight defeat – and Dungannon, who succumbed to Quins, will have time on their hands to ponder their positions in the looming dogfight for survival.
For Hinch, though, the four points were particularly useful as the Co Down side racked up only their second win in nine Division 1A outings which will have greatly boosted morale as they seek to move away from the relegation zone.
Tries from Paul Pritchard and David McIlwaine helped Hinch – who led 19-6 at half-time before finishing 32-26 ahead – on their way while Richie Lobb kicked both conversions and six penalties though despite all their considerable efforts, Hinch remain in ninth spot, three points off St Mary's College, who beat bottom side Garryowen.
As expected, Quins prevailed in the Division 1B derby clash at Dungannon by winning 13-3 with the visitors only pushing on to secure the result – which sees them still in sixth – in the second half after leading just 3-0 at the break thanks to Liam Cambridge's first penalty.
Though Peter Nelson tied the scores, Quins pushed on through a try from flanker Kenny McCombe, which was converted by Cambridge who then added a second penalty to deny Gannon a losing bonus point which now sees them now sit bottom on points differential from Malone.
And as for the Gibson Park side, they lost at Corinthians, but the 10-3 margin was better than had been anticipated and brought them a losing bonus point and give them some confidence ahead of their next AIL game – a derby clash at fellow strugglers Dungannon on January 24.
James McKinney kicked Malone's points and the hosts only sealed it in the last 10 minutes with a converted try and penalty.