BELFAST Harlequins,renowned for their attractive brand of rugby, come to Magherafelt on Saturday, Week 4 of the Ulster League.
And with the AIL only two weeks away,both clubs will be hoping to step up on previous performances and find some confidance for the more demanding schedule ahead.
The Deramore side have always been clear winners when they enjoyed home advantage,but Rainey have given a good account of themselves at Hatrick Park where,in fact,they were worthy 10-5 winners this time last year.
The AIL 1B club is traditionally hard hit by representative calls in the early weeks of the season and this is likely to be the case again on Saturday.
Rainey are desperate to get their act together and this would be a good time to do it.Quins surprisingly lost to Armagh on the opening day of the campaign,but got off the mark with a narrow victory at Banbridge.
Rainey seconds 15
Banbridge seconds 29
AFTER coming from behind to lead 10-8 at the interval,Rainey O.B 2 failed to go on from there and in the end lost a game that they might well have won.Banbridge picked up a late try which gave them a flattering 29-15 victory.
A very young Rainey side looked bright in the opening minutes,but missed a straightforward penalty.They then fell behind to a penalty after giving the ball away in their own 22’.Some good forward play took them to the Banbridge posts,but they were penalised in the scrum and the visitors used the touchline well to move upfield and score a try.Hooker Mc Calmont put Rainey on the front foot when he led a drive in midfield and a little kick through for Mc Clelland brought them a penalty which centre Connolly kicked.And when the referee somehow missed a knock-on in the lineout, Dysart romped through for a try which Connolly converted.A great chance was missed just on half-time when a misunderstanding in the centre followed some good handling along the left touchline where Rutledge and Montgomery were prominent.
Rainey extended their lead to 15-8 eight minutes after the break.Chances were missed as the forwards pounded away at the Banbridge line before wing Aaron Rainey was left with the simple task of touching down in the corner.
They looked a safe bet to win at this stage, but increasingly found lineout ball hard to come by and allowed a sharper Banbridge pack to nick some vital possession at the breakdown.The Rifle Park team drew level before the end of the third quarter when they broke through the centre on the home 22’ and struck again when a clear forward pass went unnoticed.
Rainey could hardly grumble though,given the circumstances of Dysart’s earlier effort. With back-row man Harbinson showing the way,Rainey rallied to find a promising field position,but a spilled offload cost them a lot of valuable ground.They made some positional switches in the scrum in a desperate attempt to turn things round, but Banbridge swooped again in the last minute when a high bouncing ball had the Rainey rearguard in difficulty.
Rainey ON thirds 44
Bangor seconds 26
RAINEY OB 3 began life in Junior 3 with a high scoring 44-26 home win over Bangor 2.The game was marred by a last minute ankle injury sustained by Rainey prop Kieran Mc Cann.Everyone at the club wishes him a full and speedy recovery.
In perfect conditions,Rainey scored six tries,four of them converted byMoran,who also added two penalties.Five of their tries came in the first half when their solid pack provided an abundance of quality ball for a potent backline.Centre Mc Bride helped himself to a hat-trick,with hooker Mc Guckin and centre Clayton grabbing one apiece.
Bangor claimed the first try of the second half,but Irvine replied for Rainey who then switched off completely.The seasiders ran in three quick tries to dramatically alter the scoreboard and force a rethink by the home side.A penalty from Moran helped to stop the bleeding and they were able to steady the ship in the final quarter,only for that late injury to spoil their day.
Result from Minor:
South Banbridge fifths21
Rainey OB fourths 12
Fixtures for September 15 1st XV v Belfast Harlequins home 2.30 pm; 2nd XV v Harlequins 2 home 3rd XV v Portadown 3 away.