Rainey ES 16-12 Dalriada -
On Saturday the Rainey ES 1st XV hosted Dalriada. Both schools were competing for the ‘Arthur Topping Cup’ which added a little extra competitive spirit to the game.
In perfect conditions, in front of a good crowd Dalriada opened strongly, keeping the ball in hand and putting the Rainey defence under pressure.
With only a few minutes on the clock, the pressure told as the Dalriada winger broke through midfield to score.
Rainey battled to get on the front foot but Dalriada keep pressing. Some excellent defensive work from Timmy Shiels and Andrew Brown prevented Dalriada from adding to their score.
As the half progressed Rainey began to come more into the game. They set up a number of attacks of their own but failed to finish. Neal Hastings and captain Calvin Smyth threatened the line but the visiting defence held firm.
The home out-half Mark Rooney was beginning to have an influence on the game, ‘pulling the strings’ in many of the Rainey attacks.
After good ground was made by Cameron Stewart and Conor Brennan, Anton Lupari was on hand to drive over and level the scores at 5-5. Dalriada, however, regained the lead with Rainey on the attack.
As Rainey looked dangerous, Dariada intercepted in midfield and ran half the length of the pitch to score. The conversion was kicked to make it 12-5.
Rainey responded immediately and after fine work by Adam Currie were awarded a penalty which Mark Rooney converted to make it 12-8.
With halftime approaching Rainey launched a final attack. John McKay attacked down the narrow side and the forwards carried the attack close to the Dariada line. When the ball came back Mark Allingham displayed great strength to drive over and score.
The half time whistle sounded and Rainey led 13-12. The home side started strongly in the second half putting Dalriada under pressure.
Intelligent kicking from Mark Rooney put Rainey in good attacking positions. Rainey threatened the visiting defence many times, with Adam Patrick and Andrew Conway breaking free but the Dalriada tackling was good.
Excellent work from Lupari at the breakdown forced Dalriada to concede a penalty which Rooney converted to make the score 16-12.
With the game entering the final quarter Rainey dominated territory and possession. Connor Stringer and Nathan Lennox both made impacts when they came on.
Mark Mulholland also was introduced at fullback dealt well with some rare Dalriada attacks.
With time running out Dalriada pushed hard for a winning try. When it looked as if Dalriada may get on top in the final few minutes Scott Campbell made a great tackle to swing the advantage back to Rainey.
The final whistle sounded with Rainey holding out for a 16-12 victory. This was a very pleasing performance from Rainey in which their fitness and organisation was excellent. They also showed great effort and commitment which should help in future games. Captain Calvin Smyth received the ‘Arthur Topping Cup’ which the Rainey side thoroughly deserved.