Belfast Harlequins RFC: I XV 17 v Ballynahinch RFC I XV 14 + III XV 42 v Ballynahinch RFC V XV 24: REPORT

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Quins teams secure double wins over Hinch!

The 1st XV won 14-17 in Hinch and the 3rd XV enjoyed a high scoring 45-24 romp at Deramore.

Belfast Harlequins 45 – 24 Ballynahinch 5

Following the recent wintery weather, supporters were relieved to head to Deramore on Saturday to watch the 3rd XV vs Ballynahinch 5XV in 18 degree heat. Following their defeat last time out, Quins went into Saturday’s match desperate for a victory.

Quins made a number of changes from the opening day defeat to Limavady. In the front row, great club man Stu Leckey stepped into the unusual position of prop, putting the needs of the team before his own. At hooker came Paul Olding, who’s credited with teaching his Ireland International brother how to sidestep. In the second row, new manager Ritchie was able to find a place for himself. Making the step up the 3rd XV were Johnny McEwean and Tom Montgomery, following their successes of recent years. In the backs, James Mahon was to play his first every game at scrum half. Thirds stalwart Batman was on the wing and at full back was the maverick that is Charlie Campalani.

The first ten minutes were to fly by, with the thirds showing great continuity, following a number of surging runs from Matty Dass, Johnny Carey and Ricky Mckee. This pressure was to result in a penalty opportunity for Ricky Watters who was just wide with his attempt.

After 21 minutes Hinch were to score a great individual try from their very fast full back. They kicked the conversion. This was to act as a wake up call for Quins. Minutes later Charlie was charging down the right wing, brushing aside wood be tacklers like an Italian George North. Just short of the line, the ball went through a number of further phases, until Paul Olding was able to get his hands on the ball, stepping his way over the over the line for a deserved try.

However, as in the Limavady game, Quins were determined to do things the hard way. Charlie, our Italian Stallion, put in a huge tackle, sending his opposite number flying high into the air. Somewhere, high up in the sky, Charlie lost control of the player and as a result was unable to return the player to earth safely. For this he received a yellow card.

A couple of minutes later, Johnny Carey wanting to have a chat with Charlie with regards the progress of his PhD, decided to join him in the bin. Like Charlie, Johnny too was guilty of being too committed, following a great handoff his momentum took him over the top of the opposition player. Unfortunately for Johnny the referee decided that this was stamping. In Lenny Young’s day it was called rugby.

Hinch were able to exploit the extra space that their numerical advantage provided, with their flying fullback adding another try and conversion. Not to be outdone from the resulting kick off, Batman leaped to gather the ball beating a number of Hinch defenders. Charging for the line he was held up just short. From the ruck, Stu Leckey was able to get over with the help of Ricky Mckee. Ricky Watters kicked a great conversion. Andy McPhail making copious notes on the sideline, commented that it was very impressive to see Quins scoring with 13 men on the pitch.

Half time followed shortly afterwards. The try and conversion just before the break, seemed to give the team great confidence in their ability.

Quins began the second half by playing to the corners, with Ricky Watters displaying the kicking ability which caught the eye of scouts of Bobby Charlton’s soccer school. With Kev Fog and Johnny McEwean putting Hinch under great pressure. Although Hinch’s dangerous fullback was to mange a breakout of defence scoring his third try. An impressive return for his first game of rugby.

Quins were now returned to their full compliment of players. From this point they went from strength to strength. With Batman going over for two amazing trys, following great hands from Matty and Charlie.

Hinch were to be handed a life line through a penalty but Matty Dass was soon to dash any remaining hopes that they may have had by sprinting over following a textbook training ground move, showing all that work on Thursday nights is paying off.

Quins weren’t done with the scoring, with Paul Olding going over for his second try, following a half break from Ricky Watters.

Saturdays match was throughly enjoyable to watch. Both sets of playersand referee deserve to be congratulated for putting on such an entertaining game. The final score Belfast Harlequins 3XV 45-24 Hinch 5XV.

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