Ballynahinch failed to win for the first time in this season’s Ulster Bank League, but they fought back well to draw with Malone and stay top of Division 1B.
‘Hinch have a five-point lead at the summit after erasing a 10-point interval deficit to finish on level terms - 15-all - with Malone at Gibson Park.
Recent Ulster debutant Alan O’Connor was one of Malone’s scorers as they ran in three unconverted tries in the opening half.
But the visitors improved after the break, aided by tries from captain Lewis Stevenson and in-form winger Adam Craig. It fell to Craig’s wing colleague, Chris Quinn, to convert a late penalty to seal the draw.
Belfast Harlequins are up to fourth in the standings, 10 points off top spot, after overcoming Dublin University on a 20-16 scoreline at College Park.
The students fell to their second successive league defeat as ‘Quins produced a superb finish in the capital, scoring a converted try from Matthew Holmes and a penalty from Stuart Olding in the closing 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, at Kilballyowen Park, the first ever meeting of Bruff and Blackrock College ended in a 6-3 success for the south Dublin side.
Brian Cahill had Bruff in front with a penalty which was negated by a similar effort from ‘Rock’s place-kicker David Godfrey.
In a game of precious few try-scoring chances, Bruff completely dominated the second half but failed to muster any points as Blackrock soaked up enormous amounts of pressure.
They then broke downfield and Godfrey dropped the match-winning goal two minutes into stoppage time.
Buccaneers remain on the heels of the top two after they battled past UCD for a hard-earned 25-20 victory at Dubarry Park. Connacht prospect Jack Carty was in a rich vein of form, scoring a try and kicking two conversions and two penalties for the Pirates.
There was a second draw on the first day of Division 1B action in 2013. The Ulster derby between the two bottom clubs, Ballymena and Dungannon, ended in a 9-9 stalemate at Eaton Park.
Winger Tim Small had kicked the tenth-placed Braidmen into a 6-0 lead at the half-time. Although he added a third successful penalty, Dungannon earned a share of the spoils thanks to efforts from Darren Simpson and Stuart McCloskey (2).