Ards II 36 Rainey Old Boys II 13
Rainey II travelled to Ards RFC on Saturday looking for a result that would kick-start a season filled with promise, but which had failed to deliver results thus far.
Unfortunately, fatigue and a lack of confidence laid to a very disappointing result at the most northern tip of the Strangford Lough.
A perfect afternoon for playing rugby, Rainey II had an intense warm-up and started the game with optimism.
However, after only four minutes Rainey were deflated with the loss of centre McClelland in midfield to a reoccurring ankle injury. Unable to use substitutions, Rainey had to play with 14 men for the remainder of the game. With this setback playing on their minds, Rainey found themselves 10-0 down through a penalty and converted try after 14 minutes.
A regrouping of the troops by Coach Eastwood under the posts refocused the players who then started to put some phases of play together. Good play from the forwards led to an Ards infringement and the penalty was converted by McGlaughlin to make it 10-3.
Momentum was now with the Magherafelt men, and after a successful line-out from hooker Donaghy, the forwards took the ball into the opposition 10m line. Strong ball carrying skills from second row Stewart drove the Ards defensive line back. Quick ball led to flanker McGuckin making a fantastic run down the blind side, side-stepping two tackles and offloading to centre Montgomery in a perfect support position who then used his pace to out-sprint the Ards defenders and score the try. Converted by McGlauglin, this brought the scoring level at 10-10.
Confidence was in the ascendency now, however a Rainey mistake in the back-line playing out of their own 22, seen a missed pass being intercepted and ran in by Ards under the posts, which was dually converted to take Ards into a 17-10 lead. Not deterred, excellent play at the breakdown from number eight Dyart counter-rucking, lead to a Rainey penalty which was converted by McGlauglin to bring the score to 17-13.
In the final minutes of the first half, Rainey were lucky to escape an unconverted penalty after scrum-half Donaghy was penalised and finished the half only 4 points down after a competitive half.
The second half started off brightly for Rainey, but what was to become an unwanted trend that flowed throughout the team in the second half, unforced errors and mistakes led to Raineys downfall. The trusted boot of McGlaughlin in the first half, failed him with a missed penalty into the sun after 46 minutes.
Positive phases of play in the opposition half from Rainey forced another penalty on the 22. However this was reversed after back-chat from second row McKernan. Ards then started applying pressure to a visibly tiring Rainey team. Domination at the scrum from Ards turned the Rainey over three times on their own ball, and should have had another try, however Ards knocked on at the try line when it seemed easier to score.
Rainey battled hard throughout and gained excellent ball from line outs where hooker Donaghy completed thirteen out of fourteen attempts for the day. However, Ards got their first of three trys in the second half after Rainey secured their line out. Scrum-half Donaghys pass was off target which led to turnover ball and Ards went 24-13 up. Rainey tried to readdress this but after several phases of good play had got them to the opposition 5m line, the ball was turned over and cleared.
Ards then went 31-13 up after a carbon copy of Raineys mistake after the line out with inaccurate passing, and their day was summed up after a high ball was dropped in the Rainey half and kicked forward by Ards to complete the scoring for the day and win comfortably in the end 36-13.
Rainey should take some positives out of the game. Line-outs were very efficient and an excellent début was made from McCuster at flanker. However, even with 14 men and fatigue, the quality of players selected should have got a positive result on Saturday.
As Emmet Smith says, “Winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows at game time. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally everyday that you train and every night that you dream.”
A full turnout for training on Tuesday and Thursday is expected.
Rainey II: S. Best, R. Donaghy, N. Amos, R. McKernan, P. Stewart, M. McCuster, G. McGuckin, A. Dysart, A. Donaghy, A. McGlaughlin, M. McClelland, M. Montgomery, D. Andrews, M. Donnolly, J. Cassidy