LAST Saturday saw over 200 Rainey OB players put on the red and black to represent the club. Just as Ireland were overcoming Australia the Mini section hosted a regional blitz at Hatrick Park with visiting teams from Lurgan and Randalstown victories were recorded in all age groups under 8s, under 9s, under 10s and under 11s. It was then the turn of the Youth section to take to the field against Ballymoney and again all 3 teams were successful under 13s won 29 – 15, the under 15s won 32 – 5 and the under 17s won 13 - 5. In the afternoon the under 19s beat a strong Ballymena team 17 – 7 in their first game of the new season and the 3rdXV were victorious over near rivals Ballymoney 18 – 8 in the league.
Also last Saturday the First and Second XV travelled to Belfast to take on Ulster Senior League leaders Harlequins coached by ex Ulster player Adam Larkin, Harlequins have assembled a very strong squad which includes several Ulster Academy and Development squad players. Rainey were always going to be up against it however both teams battled hard. Despite a 60-17 defeat, coaches Campbell and Eastwood will be able to take positives from both games.
On Saturday, a youthful Rainey 2nd’s team faced a strong an experienced Belfast Harlequins side. A good start by Rainey saw them have most of the possession and territory. For the first twenty minutes there was nothing between the two sides, and Rainey’s strong attack and defence showed that they belonged in the game. Good ball carrying from a young Rainey side seen them create chances, but as previous weeks couldn’t be as clinical in the final third.
As the first half went on Rainey’s defence held out but there was only so much that Rainey could defend with such as high intensity as they did. As a few mistakes entered the game Harlequins took there chances and Rainey seen themselves let in a few soft tries, and seen them a couple of scores down at the half.
As the second half started Harlequins started as they finished, and capitalized on Rainey’s mistakes. This was the story throughout the half and the Belfast side got their tails up with a few well taken tries. As Rainey did in the first twenty minutes put up a fight, which proved by receiving a few penalties in the Harlequins 22m line, but it was the same story and Rainey couldn’t covert their chances.
The game and score line may have not went the Rainey’s way, but no one could fault the dedication and determination of the Magherafelt side, and the fighting sprit through out the game. Which is what Rainey rugby is all about.
Rainey III XV played their first league game of the season at home to an experienced Ballymoney III XV. The Rainey pack dominated proceedings in the first half with Francis Loane and Declan McCann standing out. A good break on halfway from evergreen Bob Paul offloading to Ciaran O’Neill brought play up to the B’money 22 from where a pass out wide to Ian Patterson enabled him to stride into the corner for the first try of the game. 5-0. Gavin Walker followed this up with a well taken penalty for an offside infringement. 8-0. John Beattie was unlucky to have a try disallowed just before half time, due to the referee obstructing a Ballymoney player attempting to make a last ditch tackle.
The second half kicked off with the Rainey backs engineering a well taken try for Ciaran O’Neill. John Beattie adding the conversion. 15-0. Ballymoney hit back shortly after with a penalty. 15-3. The last 10 minutes saw Rainey under pressure near their line, with Andrew Davis and Caolan Moran putting in some big hits. However Ballymoney hit back with 5 minutes to go to score a try of their own. 15-8. The game finished with another Walker penalty. 18-8. On the whole a good performance and a few selection headaches for the coaching staff.
Team: R.Patterson, F.Loane, D.McCann; I.Patterson, T.McCloskey; A.Davis, C.McOscar, C.Patterson; C.Magee, J.Beattie; R.Paul, C.O’Neill, A.Sterling, G.Walker, C.Moran.
This Saturday 24th September fixtures are
1st Malone Home 2.30 KO
2nds Malone Home 1.00 KO
4th Cavan Home 2.30 KO
Under 17 Coleraine Away 11am KO
Under 15 Coleraine Away 11am KO
Under 13 Coleraine Away 11am KO
Training continues as usual this week Senior training Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm, Youth Training Monday and Wednesday at 6.30 and Minis Friday at 6pm. New players are always welcome.