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Braidmen back in the groove

By Michael Sadlier

At least there was some alteration to the way things worked out last weekend with Ballymena halting their three-game losing run to bolster their already strong position as they aim to secure a top four play-off place.

The Braidmen - in third - will still have a higher finish in their sights but, most importantly, they got back on track through the 30-23 bonus-point victory over Shannon at Eaton Park.

Rodger McBurney and Willie McKay both crossed the Shannon line twice with Richie McMaster and Andrew Magrath combining to each kick a penalty and conversion.

As for strugglers Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins - bottom of Divisions 1A and 1B respectively - it was the familiar story of defeat as time continues to run out regarding their hopes of survival.

Hinch, in 1A, collected a last-gasp losing bonus point at Old Belvedere with the home side prevailing 19-14.

Chris Quinn scored all the Co Down side's points with a try and three penalties with his final one coming in the game's last play.

With ninth-placed Terenure also losing, Hinch have closed to within four of overhauling the Dublin side which they are still hoping to achieve to avoid straight relegation and, instead, enter a play-off for survival.

As for Quins - firmly rooted to the foot of 1B - they lost for the 14th time in 15 games in going down 28-14 at Buccaneers and remain 14 points behind ninth-placed UL Bohemians.

With a maximum of just 15 points now available, it would seem that Quins' fate is well and truly sealed and that automatic relegation is only a matter of time.

Meanwhile, in Division 2B, struggling Rainey lost 17-3 at Sunday's Well.

Belfast Telegraph


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