Ballynahinch will be an AIB League Division One club for the first time in their history next season after their bonus point win over Highfield saw them leapfrog over Lansdowne and into second place in the final Division Two table.
AIB LEAGUE: DIVISION TWO: Saturday, April 25
BALLYNAHINCH 56 HIGHFIELD 3, Ballymacarn Park
Scorers: Ballynahinch: Tries: David Nicholson 2, David Harris, Gareth Rourke, Kyle Corrigan, Ryan Bambry, David McGregor, Nevin Spence; Cons: Ryan Bambry 5; Pens: Ryan Bambry 2
Highfield: Pen: Conor O’Leary
After winning the Ulster Senior League for the first time and becoming the first Ulster team to lift the AIB Cup, Ballynahinch’s season just keeps getting better and better.
Saturday afternoon saw them play their refixed game against Highfield, the last match in this season’s regulation phase of Division Two.
It was a high stakes encounter for the County Down side as they needed a win to pip Lansdowne to second place in the final table.
They did just that, winning by a landslide margin as eighth-placed Highfield’s defence buckled for the concession of eight tries.
Touchdowns from winger David Nicholson, centre David Harris and second row Gareth Rourke had the Derek Suffern-coached home side 22-3 ahead at half-time.
Out-half Ryan Bambry, surely one of the signings of the season, converted two of those tries and added a penalty, while Conor O’Leary landed a penalty for the Cork visitors.
‘Hinch kept the pressure on during the second half and grabbed further tries through Kyle Corrigan, Kiwi recruit Bambry, David McGregor and talented wingers Nevin Spence and Nicholson.
It was all watched by another bumper crowd at Ballymacarn Park and given their impressive AIB Cup wins over four current Division One sides, ‘Hinch look set to be a very competitive outfit in Division One Section B next term.
Ballynahinch spokesman John Dickson said: “We set out to get into Division One as one of our main goals for the season and we achieved that at 4pm on Saturday afternoon and it’s a case of a job well done this year.
“It has been a season that any club would be proud of and we’re just delighted that we have achieved what we set out to do.”
Suffern’s men still have two more pieces of silverware in their sights before the season comes to an end next month.
They beat Queen’s University to qualify for Friday night’s Ulster Senior Cup final against Ballymena, while Lansdowne will be eager to take them on in next Monday’s resecheduled AIB League Division Two semi-final. UCC await the winners.