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Relegation fears grow for Ballynahinch and Harlequins

By Michael Sadlier

These days it's probably best to avoid looking at the bottom of the Division 1A and 1B tables as both offer deeply disturbing viewing.

Seven games in and without a win, Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins are not only propping up 1A and 1B respectively but the 10th-placed sides are becoming detached from their fellow strugglers and, most importantly of all, the safety zone of eighth place.

Hinch now face a huge challenge to rescue themselves after crashing 30-6 to Terenure College at Ballymacarn Park. Terenure managed to score 27 unanswered points while running in three tries after Hinch had led the game 6-3 midway through the first-half.

Sam Windsor's two penalties were all the Co Down side could muster as Derek Suffern's men succumbed to another error-strewn display.

The Co Down side have only managed to pick up three bonus points and trail ninth-placed Galwegians - their next opponents the weekend after next - by seven and this is now critical.

Suffern said: "It wasn't as bad as the scoreboard suggested. It's the small things which are going wrong for us but we're going to need some strong character and leadership now. If we win in Galwegians then we're in the hunt for survival.

"There are plenty of games to go so it's still doable."

As for Quins, they scored at the very start and end of their home encounter with Shannon thanks to two Neil McComb tries, but the real problem was what came in between as they fell 32-10.

Shannon scored five tries and were in every way superior to an injury-hit Quins squad who are clearly struggling.

Coach Adam Larkin, whose side now trail UL Bohemians by eight points while being 10 behind the relative safety of eighth place, currently taken by Blackrock College, said: "We fully deserve the position we're in because we're just not playing well enough.

"The bigger picture is probably not what we're actually focusing on at the minute, it's more trying to eke some form of victory."

Thankfully, on a much more positive note, Ballymena's season keeps heading in the right direction after they held on to defeat Buccaneers 15-14 under lights at Dubarry Park.

The second-placed Braidmen now trail leaders St Mary's College by a point.

Belfast Telegraph


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