Hinch arrived at Deramore Park where the recent snowscape had vanished without warning on the previous day. There was little wind, lots of blue skies, but still chilly. Quins were still missing Miles O’Hagan, Michael Allen, Michael Heaney, Niall Annett and Andrew Gillespie, but fielded what appeared to be a competitive side.
The match kicked off with Quins playing towards the Pavilion end. After a brisk opening from both sides a chasm appeared in the Quins mid-field at 6 minute. This opportunity was duly grasped by Hinch to score under the posts. The conversion left Quins 0 -7 down.
The ball was being hurled around with passion by both sides in what seemed a panic driven feast of attacking prowess. On 15 minutes a penalty awarded to Quins gave them a lineout on the 5 metre line on the right hand corner. A good take by Calum Leckey was followed by a forward rumble and Niall Greenan burst free to go over the Hinch line for a well worked try in the corner. Keith Pyper’s more than adequate conversion levelled the scores at 7 – 7, but Hinch were immediately stung into retaliation and a well struck penalty put them back into the lead 7 – 10. Quins enjoyed their best phase of the game over the next 10 minutes and were rewarded when a slick back movement outside the Hinch 22, ended with Willie Stewart shimmying through a number of tackles to touch down under the posts. Keith Pyper’s conversion put Quins ahead 14 – 10, and Quins were seemingly relishing the challenge. Unfortunately, Hinch immediately responded with another converted try on the half hour to lead 14 – 20.
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Quins returned to the attack but were unable to breach the Hinch defence and as half time approached the Hinch returned to the Quins half. A well struck penalty saw Hinch go ahead 14 – 20, — and the sound of the half time whistle. Quins had certainly played their part in an exciting game and, but for the defensive lapse could have been ahead. Before half time, Quins needed to reorganise their front when Ian Mathew suffered a nasty gash to his head and had to leave the field. Logie moved to prop and Gareth Reilly took up the hooking role.
The second half saw Quins initially put the Hinch under pressure, but they struggled to dictate any style on the match and a further mid-field gap allowed Hinch score and go 14 – 27 ahead.
Despite the game being well conducted by both sides, the referee used his yellow cards on both sides, for relatively innocuous offences.
Quins hopes of pulling were now fading, and while they had a short period of sustained pressure on the Hinch line, Hinch twice exploited Quins’ slackness to score 2 further converted tries – the last on the full –time whistle.
Not a good day, but we were playing against a talented, committed and well organised side.
Team: Keith Pyper, Roger Kirkwood, John Higgins, Willie Stewart, Gavin McLaughlin, Mark Kettyle, David Creighton, Ian Mathew, Robert Logan, Mark McGrath, Gareth Rourke, Calum Leckey, Ali Scott, Ali Heatlie, Niall Greenan.
Subs: Johnny Camara, Gareth Reilly, Austen Blackburn, Mark Glover, Matt Holmes.