Sweetlove in command for ‘Hinch

Sweetlove in command for ‘Hinch

7 February 2024

SATURDAY afternoon witnessed a top of the league table clash between Ballynahinch seconds and Instonians seconds at Ballymacarn Park. 

All pressure was mounted on ‘Hinch to retake the top of the league but also to avenge their first XV side who were knocked out of the Ulster Senior Cup in their own backyard by Instonians first XV earlier in the season. 

‘Hinch came out of the blocks firing as they started to make their way up the field against the wind. Strong carry’s from Jonto Andrews and Stephen Campbell allowed the ‘Hinch backs to find space outside, with Matthew Sweetlove once again pulling the strings. 

However, ‘Hinch were guilty of not releasing in the breakdown, giving Instonians an opportunity to go for the posts and get the first three points on the board. 

Still, ‘Hinch returned fire with more dominant carries, allowing Ronan Patterson to use his strength and break through the Instonians defence and put Rory Fulton under the sticks. 

‘Hinch then opted to apply their set piece at the scrum; the power of Harry McCormick and Kelvin Hamilton was too much for their opposition, leading to a penalty for ‘Hinch. 

Another line-out, secured by Kyle Gill, set the foundation for another try which saw fullback Shea Storey use electric pace and footwork to score in the corner. 

However, a quick tap and go saw the visitors find themselves underneath the ‘Hinch posts, catching the home team off guard. 

As the second half kicked off, ‘Hinch looked to apply more pressure with Chris Gibson and Matthew Booth finding holes in the Instonian defence to put Josh Hanlon and Stephen Cambell over the try line. 

Instonians looked to counter but a try saving tackle from Alex Murphy denied them the chance to get back into the game. 

‘Hinch then looked to put the game to rest with another try from Josh McMullan with Matthew Sweet-love once again adding the conversion. 

This was one of ‘Hinch’s best performances of the season with captain Kelvin Hamilton and head coach David Harris praising the team’s mentality and attitude towards this game as they look to made a statement to the rest of the league that they are not done yet. 

Ballynahinch: K Hamilton, J Hanlon, H McCormick, K Gill, B Howard, J Andrews, B Wilson, S Campbell, C Gibson, M Sweetlove, A Murphy, M Booth, R Patterson, R Fulton, S Storey.

Subs: S Connoly, P Crichton, J McMullan.