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Historic First Title For Ballynahinch

Historic First Title For Ballynahinch

Ballynahinch created history at Ballymacarn Park on Saturday as they beat Queen’s University 38-9 on the way to winning their first ever First Trust Ulster Senior League title.

It turned out that Ballynahinch did not need to cap off their campaign with a final win, with their main challengers Dungannon and Ballymena both suffering defeats, but Derek Suffern’s side still powered past Queen’s on a 38-9 scoreline.

The final table confirmed ‘Hinch as Ulster Senior League champions for the first time – they were six points clear of Dungannon, with their eight wins, one draw and one defeat netting them 42 points (including eight bonus points)

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Last year’s champions Belfast Harlequins finished fourth.

Clinching the title in fine style, Ballynahinch ran out comfortable winners over Queen’s with out-half Ryan Bambry putting his name to 18 points.

He kicked four penalties and converted three of the current AIB League Division Two leaders’ four tries, which were scored by Stuart Morrow, Johnny Cullen, Davy Harris and Michael Graham.

Queen’s had three successful penalty kicks from Ian Porter.

Suffern told the Belfast Telegraph afterwards: “It’s fantastic for Ballynahinch Rugby Club. It wasn’t a conscious goal this year, it was just something that came around.

“We’re delighted and we’ll take it with both hands and the club will enjoy it.

“We’re striving to win as many AIB League games as we can, the boys will just have to take it one fixture at a time and if we’re up there at the end of the year it will be fantastic for us,” he added.

Speaking to the Down Democrat, ‘Hinch hero Bambry said: “It’s a title we wanted to win. We played some great rugby throughout the campaign and to be honest there was no way we were going to suffer any mishap against Queen’s.

“We were determined not to allow anything to deny us the title. We quickly took control and once the scores came we knew we were on our way to the championship.

“I’m delighted for myself and all at the club. Ballynahinch is one of the foremost clubs in Ulster. From grassroots to senior level the club has a ladder approach that is readily available to all.

“Children can come here and learn the sport with top coaches ready and willing to help.

“There are many teams within the club catering for all ages. I think winning the title is a deserving reward for all the hard work put in by a lot of dedicated people here.

“I was fortunate to enjoy a good day against Queen’s but the championship was won by all the players throughout the season. Everyone played their parts in bringing the crown to Ballymacarn Park.”