Hinch Firsts Enjoy Win Over Under-strengthed UCD
Ballynahinch 31 UCD 25. James Kirk reports. Ballynahinch completed the first half of their AIL season with a rearranged game against an under-strength UCD squad and despite an error-strewn performance they managed to hang on for a bonus point win and 6th place in the 1A table.
Coach Adam Craig had no Ulster releases for the game and was without skipper Tommy Donnan following his red card against QUB in the Ulster Premiership so will have been pleased to eke out a result in difficult playing conditions.
The home side started poorly against the wind, giving away an early penalty to allow UCD to pin them in the corner.
The students came up short with their driving maul but a simple pop pass saw them score too easily from the next phase.
Aaron Cairns was yellow carded just after the restart and UCD looked odds-on to increase their lead with another kick to the corner but some sound defence kept them at bay and Ballynahinch began to gain a foothold in the game, maintaining possession and milking penalties via a strong scrum advantage.
Hinch went ahead after some brilliant interplay between backs and forwards punched holes in the UCD defence and a great line from Bradley Luney took him over from close range.
Mark Best initiated a great breakout from kickoff but there was a warning from UCD as they almost went over from long range, exploiting a sleeping home defence only to knock-on close to the try line.
The home side looked good in fighting their way upfield but again made an error as they looked in prime position to score.
A UCD penalty took them back into the lead and they went further ahead with a long range try, taking advantage of some poor tackling to score.
Ballynahinch threatened to close the gap before half time with the lively Conor McAuley asking questions of the UCD defence but they were guilty of forcing the game when a little more composure was necessary.
It was a messy conclusion to the half but turning round just six points behind with the wind at their back made them warm favourites in the eyes of the local supporters.
The first ten minutes of the second half went exactly to script. UCD failed to clear their lines and invited pressure, conceding a penalty which Best drilled into the corner.
A perfectly executed line-out variation saw Kyle McCall crash over and Greg Hutley nailed the difficult conversion to take his side ahead. He followed that up moments later with a long range penalty and momentum was now strongly with the home side.
Best put George Pringle through a gap for a 40m gain and UCD conceded a yellow card as Ballynahinch turned the screw, their dominant scrum earning a penalty try and an eleven point lead with half an hour to go. There should have been no way back for the students given the conditions.
However, the home side conceded a try almost straight away with another defensive error and found themselves in retreat, with UCD growing in confidence and taking the game to the home side with ball in hand.
They duly took the lead when a soft penalty allowed them to pin the home side into the corner. Despite an excellent goal line stand the students eventually went over beside the posts for a converted try and a one point lead.
Ballynahinch were clearly rattled and lacking accuracy but they were able to turn to their set-piece dominance when UCD conceded a penalty just inside their own half and received a yellow card.
Best again delivered the kick to the corner and the dominant home scrum did the rest, earning penalties and then a crucial penalty try and six point lead with less than five minutes to go.
From the kickoff the home side pinned UCD into the corner again and looked set to see out the victory in relative comfort but a long pass allowed UCD to break out.
With a couple of penalties and a Zack McCall yellow card later the home side were defending their own line for the whole of a lengthy period of injury time.
Eventually they earned a penalty and the bonus point victory, but it will be a different UCD side next weekend at Belfield in the reverse fixture.
All support welcome in Dublin.
Ballynahinch RFC Club Notes Round Up For 7th January 2023
Ballynahinch have won the Womens’ Championship, finishing 5 points clear of Carrickfergus in second place.
Sara Simms and her squad finished unbeaten and were declared winners when Ophir couldn’t fulfil the outstanding fixture over the Christmas period.
A new league programme starts on Sunday with a trip to Randalstown.
The 4ths continued their excellent season with a fine win 19-14 win over Lisburn 2 and head into the Forster Cup this weekend full of confidence.
The U14s warmed up for their league semi-final this weekend with an excellent 33-7 friendly victory over Sullivan and will hope for plenty of support in the Meadowbank Arena in Magherafelt on Saturday.
The U16s are also in semi-final action on a big day for the youth section.
There are big games everywhere this weekend with the 5ths starting the defence of the McCambley cup at home to Ballymena 4ths.
Youth Training continues on Mondays at 7pm for boys and Wednesdays at 7pm for girls. All players U12/U14/U16/U18 welcome and no experience necessary. Contact Clifton Quinn for details on 07501228045.
Mini rugby continues on Saturday mornings from 9.30-11am. Boys and girls from P1 – Yr8 are all welcome, with training run for each age group in their school year.
Mini rugby news is posted weekly on the club Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ballynahinchrfcofficial.
For more details contact David Martin – Mini Convenor on 07837944892 or email email@example.com
Pre-match lunches continue with Garryowen the visitors on 21st January. Contact James Shaw on 07740308051 to book your place.
Details of how to purchase a full selection of Hinch merchandise can be found on our social media outlets and on the club app.
Ballynahinch 31 UCD 25 (AIL Div 1A)
Lisburn 2 14 Ballynahinch 4 19 (Regional East 1)
UCD vs Ballynahinch (AIL Div1A)
Ballynahinch 2 vs Banbridge 2 (2nd XV League)
Banbridge 3 vs Ballynahinch 3 (Provincial Prem 1)
Ballymoney 3 vs Ballynahinch 4 (Forster Cup)
Ballynahinch 5 vs Ballymena 4 (McCambley Cup)
Randalstown vs Ballynahinch (Womens Championship) Sun 2pm
Ballynahinch U14 vs City of Derry U14 (League SF) 1.15pm
Ballynahinch U16 vs Donegal U16 (League SF) 2.15pm
Youth fixtures played at Meadowbank Arena Magherafelt