Ballymena claim only second win of season

Ballymena tasted victory in Division 1B for only the second time this season as they overcame fellow strugglers Bruff on a 29-14 scoreline at Eaton Park.

Ballymena claim only second win of season

Ballymena tasted victory in Division 1B for only the second time this season as they overcame fellow strugglers Bruff on a 29-14 scoreline at Eaton Park.

The Braidmen also threw in their first try-scoring bonus point of the campaign with forwards Mark Irving and Connor Smyth, along with the Ulster-capped Ricky Andrew, crossing for first half tries.

The bottom-placed northerners, who were 19-9 in front at the break, added a penalty try in the second half.

Bruff, falling to their ninth straight league loss, had three penalties from out-half Brian Carroll before scrum half Willie Casey sniped over for a late consolation try.

Ballymena and Bruff are now level on 14 points at the foot of the table with three rounds of match still remaining. Dungannon are 10 points better off in eighth position.

Meanwhile, with table-topping Ballynahinch’s home clash with Buccaneers postponed, UCD and Dublin University took the opportunity keep the pressure on the leaders.

Second-placed UCD registered their 11th victory of the league run, adding another bonus point to boot, as they accounted for Belfast Harlequins 33-19.

The students were cruising by half-time, leading 28-0 with James Thornton converting tries from centre Stephen Murphy, winger Barry Daly and converted flanker David Doyle.

Murphy struck for a brace inside the opening 14 minutes, and the equally in-form Daly notched his 11th try of the league campaign before the end of the first quarter.

With the bonus point in the bag, UCD took their foot off the gas although Daly doubled his try tally for the day five minutes into the second half.

Harlequins hit back with three tries in the closing 15 minutes from Niall Annett, Sean O’Connell and replacement Tom Fraser with Michael Heaney converting two of them.

Ballynahinch, who have that game in hand, have had their lead cut to four points by UCD with Dublin University a further point back in third position.

The Trinity students ended Blackrock’s three-match winning streak in the division with a 33-28 bonus point triumph at Stradbrook.

Tricky winger Niyi Adeolokun scored his tenth try of the league run, adding to a penalty try and further scores from captain Michael McLoughlin and full-back James O’Donoghue.

Blackrock, who have eased their relegation worries in recent weeks, put on a spurt in the second half to claim a bonus point of their own with their four tries all scored by forwards - Mick Carroll, Cian Culleton, Colin Phillips and David Gannon.

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