In the four week gap in the AIL programme, Rainey Old Boys intend to rest certain players and give others time to recover from minor injuries.
This being the case, the squad on duty at Rifle Park for the Ulster League fixture with Banbridge bore little resemblance to the one on parade at Ravenhill recently.
A first outing of the season was handed to three players, bringing the number of players to have turned out at this level already this season to forty-six.
Not surprisingly, Banbridge were far too powerful for them up front, but Rainey, to their credit, stuck at it to stem the tide and have the satisfaction of scoring the last try of the match. This 33-21 victory takes Banbridge into the top half of the table
Out-half O’Connor gave Rainey an early lead, but when they coughed up possession from the restart Banbridge made them pay with a try.
O’Connor landed a fifty yard kick, but Banbridge punished some weak tackling to score near the posts.Though getting hammered in the set pieces Rainey managed to score a fine try through wing Campbell after 21 minutes. Full-back Lamberton created the opening with his pace down the narrow side.
Two penalties made it 18-11 to Banbridge, but O’Connor again found the target. Late in the half Rainey were caught out at the front of a lineout to turn round 23-14 down.
O’Connor saved Rainey with a great cover tackle, but was then yellow carded and an intercept try left Banbridge 33-14 ahead five minutes into the second half.Back-row stalwarts Heaney and Hawe kept Rainey in it with some determined play and they exerted pressure for a spell until Banbridge swept upfield to force a try-saving tackle from Andrew Donaghy.
When Banbridge replaced two of their biggest forwards, Rainey operated better and a well-placed little chip into space from Sargent almost paid dividends.
A Banbridge forward saw yellow in the closing minutes and Rainey took advantage with centre Burrows going in for a consolation try.
Rainey OB: R. Lamberton, A. Campbell, M. McClelland, J. Cassidy, A. Clarke, M. O’Connor, A. Donaghy, N. Amos, S. Sufferin, S. Best, P. Boyle, N. Rankin, P. Heaney, T. Burns, S. Hawe. Subs: A. Harbinson (Best 46), J. Burrows (Clarke 48), M. Sargent (Donaghy 52), K. Donaghy (Sufferin 60), A. Donaghy (McClelland 68)
Omagh IV 17 Rainey OB IV 12
Saturday December 29
Rainey Old Boys v Ards (2.30pm)
Rainey OB II v Ards II (1pm)