Rainey win Topping Cup

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Dalriada 24 Rainey ES 26 DALRIADA and Rainey met in their annual game for the Arthur Topping Memorial Cup. Dalriada opened strongly and after poor Rainey tackling opened the scoring early with a converted try to lead 7-0.

Rainey took their time to settle and Dalriada continued to dominate the early stages. The Rainey pack led by Jack McCalmont gradually began to get on top and after a fine burst by Jonathan Lees, flanker Thomas Booth went over in the corner. The conversion was missed to leave the score 7-5.

Rainey now began to get the upper hand and after sustained pressure Martin Connolly kicked a penalty to give Rainey a 7-8 lead. Half backs Oisin Quinn and Connolly were now dictating play and with Damien Devlin providing a good supply of lineout ball they finished the half on the front foot.

The visitors started the second half on the attack with centres Stephen Fullerton and David McClelland causing problems. Connolly extended Rainey’s lead with another penalty to leave the score 7-11. Rainey now dominated possession and territory and the young members of the pack Sam Hawe and Matthew McCready were enjoying their superiority. Connolly kicked his third penalty after fine work by Chris Moffett on the wing to increase the lead to 7-14.

Up font Gary Monaghan and Jonathan Kyle provided the Rainey backs with good ball and the backs used this intelligently with full back Ryan Brown putting wing Jamie Noble in the corner after some slick movement. Connolly converted to leave the score 7-21

Then the game changed dramatically. Rainey fell into the trap, switching off and thinking the game was won. To their credit Dalriada came back and quickly scored a converted try to close the gap to 14-21. From the kick off they scored again to leave the score 19-21 with 5 minutes to play. Rainey were looking really uneasy and Dalriada took full advantage to score a fourth try to regain the lead 24-21.

With only minutes remaining Rainey looked ‘dead on their feet’, but got a penalty which they kicked deep into Dalriada territory. From the lineout they produced a lovely back movement which sent Jamie Noble over in the corner for his second try and what turned out to be the match winning try. The conversion was missed and the whistle went to give Rainey a deserved 24-26 win.

Rainey showed a lot of potential in this game and also learned a valuable lesson in not switching off. However, they displayed great character in the final minutes to come back and win. Dalriada showed a super fighting spirit and will be pleased with the way they came back from being 14 points down.

In Saturdays other games the 2nd XV lost 13-12 (Rigan Sanderson 2 tries and Arran Murphy 1 con), the Medallion lost 35-5 (Andrew Conway 1 try), U14A lost 21-0, U14B lost 32-5 (Mark Evans with 1 try), U13A lost 28-5 (Joshua Henry with 1 try) and the U13B lost 21-7 (Richard Winder with 1 try and Matthew Young with 1 con).

Next weeks fixtures are against Foyle and Londonderry College with the junior teams away and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd XVs at home. Kick-off 10.15am. All support welcome.