ULSTER RUGBY CLUBS PREVIEW WEEK 2!!!!!!!!!! sat 7th Sept, 2013 – WEEK 1 was an EXXXXPLOOOOSSSIONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR \iors/!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by George Millar

3 minutes, 4 seconds Read

Explosive opening to the Senior league with wins for Malone, Ballynahinch, Armagh, Ballymena and Belfast Harlequins. 340 points scored in five matches.
Ballymena and Queens stole the show with a ninety point thriller at Eaton Park. Ballymena edging it with a 46 – 44 win. Ballynahinch emphasised their hold on the Stevenson Shield by overwhelming potential challengers City of Derry 56 – 14. Armagh once again impressed with a 20 – 0 win over neighbours Dungannon. Despite leading at halftime Ards were outplayed by Rainey in the second half to lose 52 – 24. Malone held off a late Banbridge challenge to win 22 – 18. Belfast Harlequins proved too strong for Instonians winning 37 – 7. This weekend the fixtures provide opportunities for teams to secure their opening league points.
City of Derry face an inform Ballymena team at Judges Road. Derry will look to bounce back from their mauling at Ballynahinch. Ballymena would be the favourites to take the points in this game. Dungannon have a daunting home fixture against an inform Belfast Harlequins xv who should again take the points. Instonians entertain Banbridge at Shaws bridge. This is a difficult fixture to call with Wilbur Leacock’s team capable of upsetting the men from the Bann. Malone entertain the number one club side in Ulster – Ballynahinch at Gibson Park. With the movement of players at Malone this season. Jacque Benade’s coaching skills will be tested as his side attempt to stall the Hinch juggernaut. Ballynahinch to win comfortably. Queens will surely secure five league points against an improving Ards team at Upper Malone. The final fixture will see John Andrew’s Rainey team play Armagh at Hatrick Park. Rainey should win but Armagh are a resilient team under the guidance of Andrew Hughes. Can Armagh cause an upset !!!
In Qualifying One supporters came out in large numbers to witness last minute wins by champions Portadown at Bangor and Cooke at Coleraine. Clogher Valley won comfortably at home to an understrength Ballymoney. CIYMS proved too strong for the students at Coleraine. In the final game Donaghadee secured a narrow 22 – 17 win over Dromore. This weekend the stand out game is the local derby at Kilraughts Road between Ballymoney and near neighbours Coleraine. Ballymoney will look to recover from conceding ten tries at Clogher Valley. Coach Jason Taggart will have a near full strength side available . Coleraine under the guidance of coach Richard Beggs and player/coach Stephen Douglas will look to bag the four league points. They were unlucky to be undone by Coleraine brothers Alex and Alan Gourlay who conjured up the winning score for Cooke. Clogher Valley should continue their impressive form at home to UUC by taking maximum points. Cooke will want to build on their win at Coleraine and under the guidance of new player coach Colin Atkinson should take maximum pointa at Shaws bridge against Dromore. Donaghadee travel to play champions Portadown. Their last gasp win at Bangor should provide the incentive for Portadown to complete the double against the North Down neighbours. The Dee half back pairing of Alastair Lockhart and player coach Paul McKenzie have a key role to play for the Dee if they want to take any points from this match. Both Bangor and CIYMS have no game this weekend.
Qualifying Two. Lisburn entertain Ballyclare at Blaris in the opening fixture. Ballyclare narrowly missed out on promotion to Qualifying One last season and will be one of the favourites to secure promotion this season. Lisburn have had a strong pre season and could cause a upset this weekend. This match will attract a large crowd with Ballyclare looking to get maximum points in this opening game.
ALL KICK OFFS ARE 2.30pm at the club nearest you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By George Millar


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