Ulster clubs had a mixed day in Division Three. Queen’s, Instonians and Banbridge are kept their promotion hopes alive with home wins but at the other end of the table Portadown and Rainey suffered defeats against the bottom two clubs.
Instonians were the only side in the top four to gain a bonus point victory as they beat Suttonians 31-10 at Shaw’s Bridge to move up to third, three points behind Queen’s although the students have a match in hand.
Coach Clem Boyd was delighted to get the five points after having lost to Queen’s the previous week.
“It was a very important week and game for us, potentially it was a tricky one psychologically for us but the boys responded well and learned the lessons from last week and scored some nice tries,” he said.
Inst had the bonus point wrapped up by half time as they turned around 24-10 up.
Loose forwards Ben McDonnell and David Bradford got the home sides opening two tries. Prop Alan Whitten added a third before scrum half Nico Andress created a fourth for full back Josh Devitt. Mike McKeever added a fifth try in the second half.
Queen’s remain second five points behind leaders Midleton, but have a game in hand.
The students were given a scare at the Dub by Nenagh as they trailed 10-0 at the break.
David Delaney scored a penalty, a try and a conversion in the first half for the visitors.
Michael Ferguson got the students first try before Delaney and Ian Porter exchanged penalties.
David McIlwane and captain Mark Robinson got further touch downs for the students.
All eyes at Rifle Park were on returning Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best as he made his return from the next surgery that has ruled him out of rugby since last June. Best came through 55 minutes without any reaction and helped Banbridge to a 17-5 win up Barnhall which lifts them up to fourth in the league.
Bottom club Carlow got their first win of the season by beating Rainey 20-17 while Portadown went down to Connemara 18-3 at Chambers Park.