Ballymena slumped to their second defeat of the season as new Buccaneers' signing Mark Bruce helped himself to a try in their 26-13 victory at Dubarry Park.
AIB LEAGUE DIVISION ONE: Saturday, October 22
Buccaneers 26 Ballymena 13, Dubarry Park
Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: David McGowan, Mark Bruce; Cons: Tom Cregan 2; Pens: Cregan 4
Ballymena: Try: Simon Shaw; Con: Dirkie Strydom; Pens: Strydom 2
New Buccs coach Geoff Moylan was successful in his first home game of the league campaign as two tries in the space of three minutes before the half-time proved crucial.
Two penalties apiece from Buccs full-back Tom Cregan and Ballymena's fit-again number 15 Dirkie Strydom saw the sides locked together at 6-6 before Ireland Under-19 lock David McGowan, making his senior debut for Buccs, stretched over to score.
Cregan added a brilliant conversion and straight from the restart, Buccs' new scrum half Bruce, who joined the Pirates from Loughborough University in the summer, waltzed through some poor attempted tackles from the Braidmen on a 25-metre run to score beside the posts.
Cregan again converted for a 20-6 half-time lead and the former Shannon kicker chipped over two further penalties early in the second half for a 20-point advantage for the hosts.
Strydom converted a 68th-minute try from prop Simon Shaw, which added a bit of respectability to the scoreline, but there will be no hiding place for Steph Nel's men next Saturday when second-placed Cork Con come calling to Eaton Park.
BUCCANEERS: T Cregan; S Brady, P O'Sullivan, W Wallace, C Lavelle; D Greene (G O'Grady), M Bruce; B Gilligan (B Campbell), G Halligan (K O'Gorman), M Cahill (H Mitchell), B Buckley, D McGowan, D Kelly (C Hartigan), A Hanley, D Quinlan
BALLYMENA: D Strydom; A Spence (A McGrugan), J McGrugan, S Stewart, A Maxwell; A Larkin, D O'Hara (B Clements); A Kirkpatrick (D Cooke), I Campbell (R Kernoghan), S Shaw, I Caldwell, B Young, A Graham (B Hughes), J Haggart, M McComish.
Referee: John Carvill (IRFU)
Paul McKenzie scored Belfast Harlequins' only try as fly half Michael Glancy almost single-handedly booted Andy Ward's side to their first win of the league campaign at Oak Park.
County Carlow 19 Belfast Harelquins 28, Oak Park
Scorers: Carlow: Try: Alan Galavan; Con: Greg Jacob; Pens: Jacob 4
Harlequins: Try: Paul McKenzie; Con: Michael Glancy; Pens: Glancy 6
Glancy landed six penalties and converted McKenzie's 27th-minute as 'Quins deservedly claimed the spoils.
Glancy and 'Quins left winger Johnny McClaughlin swapped a brace of penalties with Carlow centre Greg Jacob before former Ireland Under-21 McKenzie was played in for the opening try. A close-range lineout saw 'Quins flanker Bob Devonshire ferry the ball onto centre Michael McKeever, who has linked up with 'Quins from Instonians this season, who offloaded for Mckenzie to coast over.
Glancy added the conversion and three more penalties to just one more from Jacob as the visitors led 22-9 at the break.
'Quins lock Gareth Rourke was sin-binned on 52 minutes for a ruck offence and Carlow took advantage to score their only try through replacement hooker Alan Galavan. Jacob's conversion cut the deficit to 25-19 but a sixth and final penalty from Glancy in injury-time confirmed the win for the Ulster side.
CARLOW: C Ruai; T Bonnefoy, C Moore (R Armstrong 54), G Jacob, R Jackson; B Murphy, S Gibbons; P Brennan, W Kerr (A Galavan 56), K Corrigan (L O'Byrne 68), A Mehilovich, W Whitten, D Cox, P Syme, T Tasola.
HARLEQUINS: K Pyper; P McKenzie, D Cave, M McKeever, J McClaughlin; M Glancy, J Lowe; B Lynch (C Keown 64), S Philpott, C Tipene, G Rourke, L Stevenson (M Graham half-time), B Devonshire, A Gillespie, A Ward.
Referee: Ger English (IRFU); Sin-Bin: G O'Rourke (Harlequins)