SATURDAY 14th saw the Rainey RFHC field two teams in Ulster Hockey’s finals day at the Civil Service playing fields Belfast.
After a tough season in senior 3 Jayne Allen’s 1st XI squad faced Banbridge in the Intermediate final. Both teams were lead onto the pitch by the umpires Rainey looking very smart in their new Dorman’s & the Opera sponsored white playing shirts.
The first half started slowly with both teams taking 10 mins to settle into play, Banbridge then intercepted a free ball and pushed towards Rainey’s goal, a shot across the circle was picked up by a forward on the back post, one nil to Banbridge.
From the restart Banbridge controlled the play pushing forward again with Rainey’s Rebecca Allen making some great saves under increasing pressure, unfortunately the second goal eventually came despite the defenders and keepers best efforts.
Rainey then pushed forward with a pass up the field from Gemma Bowman which was picked up by Rachel Clarke who played with the Banbridge defence as she ran passing the ball into the circle to be picked up by Nicole Heaney who found the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed due to a misdemeanor earlier in play the umpire took the decision to award a penalty corner instead of playing the advantage and allowing the goal.
So it was back to the drawing board, Rainey had found a new motivation and continued to press forward with some great play from captain Jayne Allen and forwards Zara Bell & Megan Mulholland with much needed help from Lorraine Hyndman. Play was a plenty in the midfield with Maeve McNally, Clare Mulholland and Karla Garvin working hard to win the ball was pushed forward to the Rainey forwards, Banbridge intercepted some of the play and pressured the Rainey defence of Rosie Taylor, Catherine Walshe and Louise McMaster who kept stopping the play from progressing.
Banbridge didn’t back down and eventually broke through the defence to again find the back of the net twice more before half time.
From the start of the second half despite their best efforts Rainey couldn’t manage to cash in on their chances.
Rainey 2ndXI v Queens 3rdXI
At 2pm Kuffys crew, the 2XI stepped onto the sand based pitch for their final against the tough and reigning champions Queens XI.
From the pass back the pace was fast and furious from both teams with the ball moving from end to end of the pitch at lightening pace. Eventually the game settled into a distinct pattern with Rainey controlling the pace and direction the game.
After some intense pressure Rainey pushed forward with some superb mid field play into the circle to be picked up by the forwards in the circle, with a shot on goal cleared by the Queen’s keeper it was then pushed back into the circle by continued Rainey pressure and eventually scrambled into the net by a Rainey stick, 1-0.
Queens responded with some intense pressure on the Rainey defence of Lisa Walls, Robyn Hastings & Kathryn (Kuffy) Stewart eventually penetrating the defence to try and outsmart keeper Nicole Badger; Nicole was so intent on keeping a clean sheet she soaked up and pushed aside all that Queens could shoot at her. The whistle finally blew for the end of the half with Rainey holding a slim lead going into the break.
The second half started as the first finished with Queens pushing forward using their experience, however Rainey were not going to be overwhelmed by their opponents with Barbara Allen making a run down the entire length of the pitch and sending a super ball into the circle and direction of forwards Christine McClure, Shuana Donald & Lindsay Morressy, however the pace was just too much for the girls to finish.
Rainey who could taste victory kept piling on the pressure throughout the second half wearing down the Queens team with runs from Keira McNally, Grace Kelly with back up from Sara Barfoot to eventually finish up league and Minor cup champions for the 2011/12 season.
Player of the match was awarded to Nicole Badger due to her outstanding performance as keeper.
With the presentation of the cup completed both teams returned to Magherafelt with the first stop being Dormans & the Opera who very kindly in addition to the playing shirts laid on food for all the players and supporters in their premises.
This was greatly appreciated by all involved with the players from both teams finishing off their celebrations in Dormans on Saturday night. The players, coaches & committee would like to extend a massive thank you to the management of Dorman’s for all your support.
This brings to a close a very successful second season for the club, we would like to thank all the players and coaches for their commitment and enthusiasm during the year. We are looking forward to next season when the teams can continue to build on their success.