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Hinch claim first win as Banbridge throw away lead and draw

 

By Michael Sadlier

Two rounds and already there is a certain symmetry to the 1B table with Banbridge, Ballynahinch and Ballymena in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

And yet only Hinch tasted victory — all three clubs were at home — when they defeated Old Wesley 27-6 with a bonus point at Ballymacarn Park which brought them their first win after two games.

Out-half Johnny McPhillips scored a try and kicked two conversions and a penalty to register 12 points to Hinch’s final total while skipper Aaron Cairns crossed the Wesley line as did Conor Kelly and Richard Reaney.

It was McPhillips who scored first for Hinch after the home side lifted an early Wesley siege and Conor Kelly claimed the Co Down side’s next score which saw Brian McLaughlin’s charges lead 14-6 at half-time thanks to McPhillips’ second conversion.

After the Hinch out-half nailed a penalty, Reaney had the next try which went unconverted but put the Ulstermen 22-6 up and looking good for the win and a possible bonus point.

That duly arrived but only in the last minute of normal time when Cairns duly delivered the five points.

Meanwhile, there will be much food for thought at Rifle Park, Banbridge this week after Dan Soper’s squad let UCC back in the game after the home side had been leading 31-10 which resulted in the students scoring 21 unanswered points to draw the contest.

Even though Bann walked away with three points — thanks to the draw and their try bonus — it ought to have been five and surrendering such a lead at home will not have gone down well with the 1B newcomers.

After Adam Doherty’s 10th minute touchdown, the Munster side took a 10-5 lead though this was wiped out when Ulster Academy prop Eric O’Sullivan forced his way over with Ian Porter supplying the two points.

Bann led 19-10 at the turnaround after Peter Cromie’s score with Porter converting and the bonus point was secured by Andrew Morrison with Porter, once again, doing the needful from the tee.

At this point there seemed no stopping the home side and next on the scoresheet was out-half and Ulster Academy player Michael Lowry with the ex-RBAI Schools’ Cup winner dotting down on the teenager’s debut.

That made it 31-10 but UCC then roared back into the game and scored three more converted tries which also brought them three points.

At Eaton Park, Ballymena lost out 10-6 to Dolphin and had to settle for no more than a losing bonus point.

Their discipline certainly could have been better in this one and after having two players sin-binned last weekend, the Braidmen saw Adam McBurney yellow-carded just after the half hour mark.

They trailed 7-3 at the break and only managed another penalty in what remained with Brett Heron also kicking that.

Results: 1B: Ballymena 6 Dolphin 10, Hinch 27 O Wesley 6, Banbridge 31 UCC 31, Naas 28 Bohs 13, Shannon 18 Old Belvo 3

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