Queen’s on track for record Ulster Senior Cup win

Queen’s started their quest for a record 24th Ulster Senior Cup with a empathic 39-10 win over Ballymena at The Dub.

The students scored seven tries against the Braidmen as they warmed up for a return to All Ireland League action.

Queen’s made a fast start with centre Ben Heath crossing for the opening try which out half Ritchie McMaster converted. Hooker Harry Long finished off a driving maul with McMaster again adding the conversion.

Ballymena outhalf Tim Small was on target with a penalty before Ben Power crossed for the home side’s third try, which was unconverted to give Queen’s a 19-3 at the interval.

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Heath claimed his second try soon after the break and Power added his second touchdown both went unconverted. Scrum half Conor McKee darted over from the back of a maul for the home side.

Matthew Corr got a consolation try for Ballymena which Small converted before flanker Curtis Pollock went over for Queen’s to round off the rout.

After clinching the league just before Christmas Ballynahinch kept their hopes of the double alive with a 55-5 win over Bangor at Upritchard Park scoring nine tries in the process.

It took ‘Hinch only three minutes to get their first try with lock Tommy Donnan going over. Prop John Dickson crossed eight minutes later for ‘Hinch with outhalf Jack Milligan converting. ‘Hinch’s forwards continued to dominate with hooker Zac McCall touching down for an unconverted try tree minutes later.

‘Hinch, runners up in the competition in 2020, added three more tries before half time, Yasser Omar and Ronan Patterson crossed within a minute of each other with Milligan converting one. Thomas Martin’s unconverted try gave Hinch a 34-0 lead at the break.

Hooker Josh Hanlon crossed for ‘Hinch on 53 minutes, Greg Huntley took over the kicking duties and added the conversion.

Bangor registered their only points with an unconverted try on 58 minutes. Scrum half Connor McCauley and centre Rory Butler got tries for ‘Hinch in the last 15 minutes with Huntley converting both.

Malone recovered from a 5-0 half time deficit against Banbridge at Gibson Park to win 14-8 while Belfast Harlequins beat Dungannon 24-14 at Stevenson Park.

There was no joy for Armagh in the Bateman Cup semi final against Lansdowne at the Palace Grounds.

Chris Parker’s side were looking to make a second consecutive final but went down 22-7 to the Dubliners who had former Ulster flanker Clive Ross in their starting line up.

Outhalf Peter Hastie put the visitors in front with an early penalty.

Lansdowne extended their lead when they were awarded a penalty try and were into the interval with a 10-0 advantage.

Scrum half Jack Matthews nipped over in the corner just after the break for Lansdowne’s second try but Hastie couldn’t convert from a difficult angle.

Lansdowne put the result beyond doubt when winger Sean Galvin finished of a sweeping move which started in their own 22 with a tap penalty and Hastie added the extras. Matthew Hooks got a late consolation try for Armagh with Kyle Faloon converted.