Harlequins 10 49 Ballynahinch Firsts
David Napier reports from Deramore Park.
A cold wet afternoon on the back pitch at Harlequins could be a combination that’s not always conducive to running rugby, but this Hinch team did not let it matter to them and they made light of the conditions and outplayed their opponents, scoring seven tries, keeping their traveling supporters happy.
A difficult start for the home side saw them lose Blake-Knox and Ferguson within 5 minutes to injury. The opening 10 minutes was a scrappy affair with neither side putting much together. Hinch opened the scoring when after a phase of continuity the ball reached James Thompson and he was able to use his pace to touch down with Michael Lawton converting. 5 minutes later Hinch increased their lead. From a scrum just outside their own 22, Aaron Cairns fed Roger McBurney on the short side and he used his pace and skill to score a fine individual try, converted again by Lawton.
Quins pressed, but the hard working Hinch defence stood firm. Veteran prop Chris Stevenson went off injured and he was replaced by Andy Irwin. The visitors were penalised as the scrum colapsed and Quins took this opportunity to open their scoring account. Half time 14-3 to the visitors.
Hinch took only two minutes at the start of the second half to extend their lead. Adam Craig, deep in his own 22, well fielded a Quins kick and decided to run a counter-attack. When his excellent run was halted, David McGuiggan was in support. He just failed to make the line but Jonny Simpson was on hand to score under the posts. Lawton was there again with the conversion.
Ten minutes later the same three players were prominent, this time Craig with a powerful run was the scorer. Lawton Converted.
At this stage Craig and Cairns were replaced by Chris Quinn and Aaron Ferris.
Quins only score of the second half came from a 5m scrum when their number 8 picked up and managed to make the line. Converted to make the score 28-10 to the Visitors.
This try lifted the home side and they continued to put Hinch under pressure but when they lost the ball Lawton was first to react and he sprinted 60m to score, adding the conversion. Hinch were playing with an air of confidence and were keen to run on every occasion. The next score came after an initial break by Lawton which was fly hacked on by Stuart Morrow allowing Thompson to run the race and score his second. Lawton, with his kicking boots working wonders, converted.
The seventh and final try came after a strong McBurney run. An off load to Jonny Madden whose pass to Ferris saw the winger race home. Lawton as he had done all afternoon, converted.
A pleasing and very assured performance from the visitors, but Hinch know it will be a different Quins side that they meet in early February in the All Ireland League.
There is no game for the 1st XV next Saturday but it is still a big day for the club with the second XV away to Armagh and 3, 4 and 5 XV’s all at home in the Crawford Cup. The seventh XV are away to Bangor.