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Hinch feel the heat as loss edges them closer to drop zone

By Michael Sadlier

Matters are getting rather tense for Ballynahinch after a game they really needed to win turned into yet another defeat which has ended up dragging them ever closer to the drop zone.

Losing 30-14 at Shannon saw Hinch swap places with their hosts in the 1B table meaning that Derek Suffern's under pressure squad dropped one position to eighth and are now just five ahead of Galwegians.

Though Hinch do have a game in hand on Galwegians and bottom side Dolphin - only the basement team is automatically relegated while the side finishing in ninth faces a play-off to stay up - their run-in entails the Co Down side playing three teams positioned in the top four though Buccaneers already being champions may be beneficial for Hinch's cause.

It started brightly enough at Shannon when David Nicholson crossed for an unconverted try after just three minutes and then Justin Rea's 10th minute penalty put Hinch in front.

The problem was, though, that Hinch - who had Peter Nelson at out-half - just couldn't build their lead and keep the home team from scoring.

Rea's second penalty pushed Hinch 11-10 ahead seven minutes before the half hour but then things rapidly fell away.

Shannon led 20-11 at the break and the only points Hinch registered in the second half came from Rea's third penalty as the home side went on to score 10 more points to claim four very valuable points.

Ballymena also lost again but only narrowly when UCC won 26-24 at Eaton Park.

Mark Best got one of the Braidmen's three tries which were all converted by Richie McMaster.

They stayed in sixth thanks to the losing bonus point though they are not entirely safe yet and, as things stand, Galwegians could still overtake them.

Div 1B: Bmena 24 UCC 26, Buccs 30 Naas 23, Galwegians 23 Dolphin 29, O Wesley 31 UL Bohs 27, Shannon 30 Hinch 14

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