RAINEY Old Boys were able to call on forwards Dawson and McDowell for the first time this season when they met Belfast Harlequins in the Ulster League at Hatrick Park.
But they had several other key players missing,as had the Deramore club who had to field minus their representative players.
Between them they played out what must rate as the dullest game of rugby seen at this venue in years.
Rainey had shown commendable spirit in a midweek defeat at Dungannon,but they would struggle to take any plusses from this error strewn affair.They can only hope that they can turn things round in the next two weeks.Quins won 10-5,with Rainey taking a losing bonus point,but this result will not linger long in the memory.
The game got off to an untidy start and it was to get no better.A reversed penalty gave the visitors a promising field position,but a solid tackle from Dawson and a crooked feed allowed Rainey to clear their lines.There were turnovers galore and far too many mistakes with ball in hand as players tended to become isolated from their support.
At times it almost looked as if neither side wanted the ball.Rainey missed three kicks at goal while Quins opted to go to the corner and never threatened.Rainey flanker Burns was yellow carded on 37 minutes, but Quins were unable to take advantage.
Two minutes after the break, Quins managed to trouble the scorer when,having first broken through the middle of a lineout,they moved scrum ball from a good attacking position to finally break the deadlock with a converted try.
Three minutes later, a sliced clearance caught several Rainey players offside and Quins made it 10-0.
Rainey were back in business when loose-head Rutledge broke clear up the middle to send the supporting Clarke in with a well-timed pass. The full-back unfortunately missed the simple conversion.
Rainey reshuffled their backline in the last quarter with Pyper moving to ten and Martin to full-back.A rare passage of good play brought them a penalty,but the referee called for advantage over before nothing came of the move.
Wheeled frequently in the scrum and with little lineout ball to play with, they continued to splutter while Quins fluffed a good chance of sealing the points with a penalty.
In time added on, Rainey almost snatched victory when Campbell broke infield and scrum-half McCluggage looked sure to score when he darted along the touchline,but was unable to offload to his support just short of the line.
TEAM: A.Clarke, A.Campbell, D.Mc Murray, M.Pyper, M.McClelland, S.Rutledge, S.Sufferin, R.Hill, R.Hall, C.O’Neill, T.Burns, P.Stewart (capt) ,D.Dawson.
REPLACEMENTS : A.Dysart, N.Amos, A.Donaghy, A.McGlaughlin, S.McDowell.
RESULT - Dungannon 40-17 Rainey OB (tries - Campbell, Sufferin 2)
JUNIOR 3 - Portadown IIIs 25-32 Rainey OB IIIs
Rainey OB Under-19s 15
Ulster Under-18s 12
A RAINEY Under 19 side featuring some 17-year-olds and a couple of last year’s team did themselves proud by beating Ulster U.18 by 15-12 at the Mid -Ulster Sports Arena.
Scrum-half Donaghy scored an early try which out-half Connolly converted.Ulster replied with an unconverted try just before half-time.
Randalstown flanker Cross put his side ahead,but full-back Lamberton ran almost the length of the field to level the scores.Connolly won it for his side with a late penalty.
TEAM : R.Lamberton, P.McGarry, A.Rainey, R.Coleman, S.Og Birt, M.Connolly, A.Donaghy, T.O’Hagan, J.McCalmont, M.Henry, B.Porter, M.Holgate, M.McCullough, A.Kearney, M.Mc Cusker.
REPLACEMENTS: all used - N.Lyttle, R.Feathers, L.Feathers, M.Higgins, M.Millar, J.Kee, J.Atkinson, A.Phearson. P.McErlain. Man of the Match - Jack Mc Calmont.
FIXTURES for 22 Sept.
1st XV v Malone away 2-30pm
2nd XV v Malone IIs away 12.30pm
3rd XV v Instonians 3 home 2.30pm