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Quins convert luck into a final place

Captain Colin Atkinson was relieved to reach the final of the First Trust Senior Cup as Belfast Harlequins snatched a dramatic 22-20 victory over Queen's in an action-packed game at the Dub.

Willem Slabbert's injury time conversion hit the crossbar before going over to seal victory and a fourth consecutive final appearance.

"Fair play to Queen's, they came out and made it very difficult for us and put their bodies on the line all day," said Atkinson.

"To get a push over try in the last few minutes and then for our kicker to bounce the conversion off the bar was exciting for the fans, but not for us," continued the flanker.

Queen's raced into a 14-0 lead but eventually Quins plugged away and their forward power was able to get the decisive score.

"It was a semi-final and they came out all guns blazing. They got two very good scores from their backs. I think we were maybe a bit cold when we came out and it took us a while to get settled.

"At that stage we regrouped, slowed the game down a bit and got a couple of scores before half-time which really helped," stated Atkinson.

Quins will meet the winners of the other semi-final between Ballymena and Malone in the decider and Atkinson is hoping they can lift the cup after the disappointment of losing last year's final to Dungannon.

"It's been a long hard season and all the boys can look back on the hard graft they have put in since the middle of August, so it's nice to get to Ravenhill for a show piece and it would be nice to come away with the silverware," concluded Atkinson.

Two tries from winger Will Stewart gave Queen's the prefect start but Andrew Heatlie and Gareth Rourke replied for Quins to cut the students half-time lead to 17-12.

Ian Porter and Slabbert exchanged penalties before Andrew Gillespie crashed over leaving the South African winger to seal it with the conversion.

Ballymena booked their place in the last four with a 39-19 victory over Ballynahinch at Eaton Park. Peter Budina was the hero for the Braidmen as he scored a hat-trick of tries.

Belfast Telegraph


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