Larne GS were unable to field two senior rugby teams against the ’P Keenan Road Surfacing’ sponsored Rainey ES so this enabled the coaches to bring an extended squad of 30 players to Larne.
All players would be given the opportunity to play and enhance their reputation.
Rainey named a strong starting XV for the first half and went on the attack from the kick off. Among the forwards Adam Thornton, Cameron Stewart and Neal Hastings made strong runs.
The pack - which was dominating the home forwards - provided some excellent ball for David Atkinson to feed his backs. However, uncharacteristic handling errors cost the Rainey side some early scores.
To their credit the commitment of the Larne players in the tackle was excellent. Hesitation at times by Rainey players on the ball gave the home players the opportunity to stop promising attacks.
Mark Mulholland, Richard Winder and Adam Hunter ran hard out wide but were prevented from scoring.
As the half progressed the Larne defence started to tire and Rainey found a little more space. Andrew Hawe and Matthew Gordon drove through the defence to set up a good attacking position.
When Larne were penalized Rainey kicked for the corner and from the resulting lineout Anton Lupari crashed over for the first try. Rainey led 5-0 and Larne were finding it very difficult to get any ball.
Andrew Nevin and Adam Currie both made strong runs. When stopped the ball was moved wide and Lorcan Quinn, who had just returned from injury, almost put Matthew Mulholland in at the corner.
Matthew Smyth made some nice side steps to set up the second try. When he was stopped short Anton Lupari was on hand to score his second try and give Rainey a 10-0 lead.
To give the extended squad a good run out Rainey made 14 changes at half time. These players while watching the first half had relished the challenge and brought an intensity to the Rainey performance that had not been there previously.
Wallace Bruce and Todd Smyth tore into the heart of the Larne defence making good metres. Strong runs by Michael Lynn and Nathan Lennox put Larne under pressure. They were eventually penalized and Lorcan Quinn kicked the penalty to make it 13-0.
Larne then enjoyed a period of possession but they found the Rainey defence impossible to break down. Patrick McGowan and Aaron Hamilton made some vital tackles to keep Larne out. Even when Larne had the Rainey defence stretched and a score seemed inevitable the commitment to the tackle was fabulous.
Alan Goodwin and Stephane Bergeron made try saving hits. Rainey, however, did not just come to defend and when Kelvin Hyndman won excellent lineout ball they went back on the attack.
Storming runs from Adam Thornton and Andrew Evans brought them into Larne territory. Michael McIvor-New then showed good skill to put Richard Murray into space. When Richard was stopped Lorcan Quinn was on hand to spot a gap and dart over the line.
With time running out Larne staged one final attack and managed to break what had been a magnificent Rainey defence. The conversion was kicked to make it 18-7. The referee, however, deemed there was still time for the kick off. From the kick off Stefan Stan regained possession and burst through a number of tackles. Gregory Conway was on hand to continue the attack, making good ground.
When the ball was recycled Stephane Bergeron stepped his way over the line to score Rainey’s fourth try. Lorcan Quinn kicked the conversion and the game ended with Rainey as 25-7 winners.
This worked out as an excellent exercise for Rainey with 30 players getting the opportunity to impress in a 1st XV game. Many players impressed which displays how much strength Rainey have in depth.
The intensity of play that the players displayed in the second half was also very encouraging and this must be something that the players should all aim for in every performance
The’Noonan’ sponsored Medallion won 61-5 with tries from Bryan Hall 2, Ciaran Doyle 2, Bryn Davies 2, Jack Bresland, David Dripps and Rory Bradley. Karl Warner kicked 8 conversions.
The Medallion also took the opportunity to play an extended squad which should benefit them in the future.
The U14s made it four wins out of five starts when they won 33-7. The try scorers were Jonathan Davis 2, Seb Hastings 2 and Marc Seffen. Ross Speers kicked 4 conversions.
The U13s won 15-7 and they remain unbeaten after five games. This is an excellent achievement. The try scorers were Shea Conway 2 and Matthew Gibson.
This week’s fixtures are against RBAI. The 1st XV play on Wednesday 14th October at home with a 3.45pm kick off. The 2nd XV and 3rd XV play at home on Saturday 17th October with a 10.15am kick off. The Medallion A and B, U14s and U13A and B are away. All support welcome.