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McBurney Brace Helps ‘Hinch Halt Lansdowne’s Run

McBurney Brace Helps ‘Hinch Halt Lansdowne’s Run

The surprise result of the round in Ulster Bank League Division 1A saw Ballynahinch end Lansdowne’s winning start to the season with a 14-10 defeat at Ballymacarn Park.

Despite missing some regulars due to Leinster 'A' call-ups, Mike Ruddock's men were expected to beat the County Down outfit and make it four wins on the trot.

Playing on the number 2 pitch, the Dubliners had the wind advantage in the first half and they made a steady start as 'Hinch struggled with the early pace and intensity of play.

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Ballynahinch had an horrendous penalty count in the opening 40 minutes – 11 to 3 in favour of Lansdowne – and it was fortunate for the home side that Lansdowne out-half Scott Deasy had an off day with the boot, missing three attempts at goal.

The opening half was dominated by the Lansdowne pack with some impressive lineouts and mauls. The hosts, who included ex-Lansdowne back rower Charlie Butterworth, continually defended and managed to keep it scoreless up to half-time.

The wind dropped away at the start of the second period but 'Hinch started much better, winning front foot ball for the first time.

In the 47th minute, Steve Macauley (pictured below) created room down the left wing and fed inside to returning full-back Rodger McBurney who showed great pace and determination to sprint clear and score behind the posts. Captain Harry McAleese converted for a 7-0 lead.

'Hinch had an opportunity to extend that lead in the 54th minute but centre Richard Reaney pushed his shot at goal wide of the mark.

Lansdowne continued to play with pace and accuracy and hit back with a well-worked try in the 63rd minute. As Ruddock's side moved play wide, 'Hinch slipped off a couple of tackles. Play was driven close to the 'Hinch line where number 8 and skipper Ron Boucher picked up to dive over. Deasy added the extras to square things up.

Lansdowne took the lead in the 71st minute when Deasy was on target with a penalty goal after McBurney was pinged for not releasing on the ground.

However, 'Hinch edged back in front when McBurney made amends just two minutes later. He finished off a well-worked score after good work from Robin Harte had created room out wide. Reaney converted with aplomb from the touchline to put 'Hinch 14-10 ahead with just minutes to play.

From the restart, Derek Suffern's charges took control of the game and played all the rugby deep the Lansdowne half, holding on to secure an important victory against genuine league contenders.

Referee: Paul Haycock (IRFU)