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Queen's intent on making grade for promotion

AIL Div 2

On form: Derek Suffern has his Queen’s side going along well
On form: Derek Suffern has his Queen’s side going along well

By Michael Sadlier

It has been a decent first block of games for Queen's University and the students are intent on arriving at the break having secured four wins from six in Division 2A.

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Head coach Derek Suffern's squad are on the road to UL Bohemians who are a place below Queen's in fifth though the Belfast side have a six point buffer and are intent in pushing on to challenge the teams above them.

"That's what we want," said assistant coach DJ Creighton, regarding Queen's hopes of making it four wins from six tomorrow.

"Ideally we wanted to be six from six but there have been a couple of games that cost us (at home to Old Crescent and away at Nenagh) but we're learning from that all the time.

"We're glad to be able to play the likes of UL Bohs, and it will be two student sides going at it hammer and tongs.

"They are a good side and we'll have to be ready for them and we will be.

"We know we have to be on it every week if we want to be up there in the mix at the end of the season," added Creighton.

In 2B, Rainey Old Boys are also focused on signing off on an upbeat note by taking ownership of a third straight victory after starting their campaign with three losses.

Eighth-placed Rainey are at Sligo who have now slipped to the bottom but the Magherafelt-based side will be heading west without Andrew Harbinson, Tim Barker, Stephen Rutledge and Damien McMurray who are missing for various reasons while Conor Fitzsimons is a doubt and Paddy Magowan could also be ruled out of action.

Nevertheless, coach John Andrews should be able to get key men Jason Bloomfield, Paul Pritchard, George Fritz and Andy Magrath all out to face Sligo while he will also be looking to keep his players on the park after being reduced to 13 men for a period in last weekend's 37-30 home win over Skerries.

Also in Division 2B, Belfast Harlequins will be hoping to build on last weekend's rather nervy 25-24 triumph at Wanderers when they host a high-flying Greystones outfit.

For Quins, who are now in sixth, it was only a second win in five games though Greystones, sitting up in second, have won all their matches so far which will make this quite a task for the home side.

Selection-wise, Kiwi lock Troy Webber is expected to be fit again for Quins after missing out on the drama at Wanderers.

Elsewhere, Dungannon entertain unbeaten leaders Barnhall - who have maximum points - with the Tyrone side having lost their last two games which have both been on the road.

In 2C, Bangor take on third-placed Bruff at Upritchard Park with the onus on hitting back following their shock 27-0 defeat at bottom side Tullamore.

Lewis Stevenson, Adam Alexander and Liam Preston all return for Bangor who have now slipped to fourth.

"This is a hard test for us," said Bangor director of rugby Danny Curran.

"But if we stick to the game-plan we will hopefully be fine."

Sixth-placed City of Derry are at Malahide and Omagh, in fifth position, are also on the road as they make the journey to Tullamore.

2A: Bohemians v QUB

2B: Belfast Harlequins v Greystones, Dungannon v Barnhall, Sligo v Rainey

2C: Bangor v Bruff, Malahide v City of Derry, Omagh v Tullamore

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