BELFAST HARLEQUINS 11 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 22
There was heartbreak for bottom side Belfast Harlequins as what had seemed like a certain losing bonus point was lost in the wind and driving rain at Deramore after Dublin University scored a late try to secure their own bonus point.
A battling Quins display had looked odds-on to have snatched a vital point from this clash against the promotion chasing students as the score stood at 17-11 with time running out.
But the Deramore side were unable to hold Trinity out and that late score from out-half Jack McDermott, which was against the run of play, consigned Quins to their 12th defeat in 13 games and took them a step closer to dropping out of Division 1B.
Trinity, playing into the conditions, had opened the scoring after 17 mins when McDermott scythed through the Quins defence to put full-back Conor Kearns through to score.
McDermott missed the conversion and then, after 24 minutes, Mark Best was well wide with a penalty attempt.
On the half hour, Trinity launched an impressive maul and second row Jack Burke drove over for their second try which, again, McDermott failed to convert.
Though trailing 10-0, Quins - who had Callum Leckey binned - came back with two Ben Sloan penalties to cut Trinity’s lead to 10-6 at the turnaround.
With conditions deteriorating further, a kick across field from Best - after Quins had secured a penalty - gifted winger Tim Maupin possession and his incursion helped create the students’ third try when number eight Tom Ryan burrowed over in the opposite corner.
This time, McDermott converted and Trinity looked secure at 17-6 ahead. But Quins gathered themselves and, through the efforts of their pack, stormed back into the game with number eight Matthew Fisher touching down after some great approach work into the worsening conditions.
Sloan was unable to add the extras but the game’s momentum had now swung in Quins’s favour though the subsequent sin-binning of flanker Ollie Loughead for a deliberate knock-on stalled much of their good work.
Nevertheless, Quins now trailed 17-11 and with Trinity’s flanker Brian Du Toit also binned it looked as if they might not only hold out but could have even snatched a shock result.
However their hopes came crashing down in the closing minutes as Trinity launched a rare attack into Quins’s 22 with McDermott sliding over for their bonus point try with his missed conversion not mattering to the end result.