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Hinch II’s Clinch Half Century Over Dungannon II’s
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Another Hinch Half-Century

Dungannon 2’s 15  Ballynahinch 2’s 50

Chris Parker reports from Stevenson Park

HINCH travelled to Dungannon knowing they would be in for a tough test against an experienced and physical Dungannon side. The conditions at Stevenson Park where a surprise to everyone as the team arrived to find no snow and a decent playing surface.

Dungannon started the game better and their early pressure paid off with a try after Hinch had failed to secure and retain possession. The conversion went just to the left of the upright. There was no let up as Dungannon came back at Hinch again and after good defence from Hinch, McGonigle knocked over a drop goal to give Dungannon an 8-0 lead. The more physical Dungannon pack where causing Hinch problems with McKenzie carrying well but Hinch began to retain possession better and Arneill managed to find a mismatch in midfield and he ghosted through a gap and his pace took him in from the 10m line.

McBriar added the extras to leave a point between the side. At this stage Hinch went down to 14 men and the scrums went uncontested as Andy Irwin had to be taken off with a knee injury. Dungannon took advantage of the extra man and scored a try just before half-time, the conversion was successful and they took a 15-7 lead into half time.

Hinch came out a different team in the second half with an improved attitude and they took control of the game. Three minutes into the half Dungannon infringed at a ruck 30m out and McBriar made no mistake with penalty to bring Hinch to within a score. Following a number of phases, Matty Connolly found himself in space and he broke the Dungannon defence on the 10m line before stepping the full back and having the pace to go in under the posts, McBriar added the extras to give Hinch the lead for the first time in the match.

Hinch extended that lead when Graham fed Cairns from a scrum and he released Nicholson who drew the full back to give Cairns the return pass and send him in under the posts. McBriar did the needful with the conversion and Hinch led 24-15. At this stage the game got away from Dungannon when Turkington was sent to the sin bin and Hinch took advantage of this. Cairns added another try when an over thrown line out landed in his hands and he beat three defenders before going in to the left of the posts, McBriar again added the extras, 31 – 15.

Cairns then completed his hat trick after Dungannon turned over ball in the Hinch half and Paddy James broke free of the defence before linking with Cairns and allowing him to run in untouched from the 10m line. McBriar was unsuccessful with the conversion. Hinch were retaining possession a lot better and were stretching the Dungannon defence at every opportunity. Heatley made a break down the left flank and when he was caught by the cover defence he managed to pop the ball off the deck into the hands of Cairns who ran in for his fourth try of the day. McBriar was on target with the conversion 43-15.

Hinch then lost Donaldson to an injury with 9 minutes to go but it didn’t see an end to the scoring as Nicholson provided his second assist of the day when he showed great hands to put Heatley away on the inside and the 2’s top try scorer finished well by stepping the full back and scoring in the corner. McBriar slotted the tricky conversion to bring up the 50 points and leave the final score 50-15 in Hinch’s favour. The 2’s can take a lot from a superb second half performance as they travel to face Malone next week in their penultimate league fixture.

Ballynahinch 2’s Team: D. Nicholson, M. Arneill, P. James, D. Harris, J. Heatley, J. McBriar, A. Cairns, M. Graham, J. Donaldson, J. McMullan, B. Mannus, M. Connolly, A. Irwin, A. Harper, A. Samuels.