BECTIVE RANGERS 34 RAINEY OLD BOYS 20
efeat on consecutive Saturdays at Donnybrook is threatening to jeopardise Rainey Old Boys’ aspirations of finishing in the top half of the table.
With several key players ruled out, it was a strange looking matchday squad that plunged the depths to allow a low-scoring, but much hungrier Bective Rangers to pick up a bonus point 34-20 victory. Much of the damage was self-inflicted with a succession of unforced errors proving very costly.
In a nightmare opening quarter, Rainey found themselves ten points behind within five minutes and faced a real uphill battle when Bective added a penalty and another soft try to make it 20-0 shortly afterwards. They did battle back to get within sight of a losing bonus point, but then conceded an intercept try which ended the game as a contest.
On a perfect afternoon for rugby, Rainey handed the initiative to the opposition by failing to deal with the kick-off. A penalty from the scrum was soon followed by a try at the posts.
A shell-shocked Rainey finally managed to get their hands on the ball without ever looking like breaking the gain line and conceded another penalty when they transgressed at a ruck as they tried to carry the ball out of defence instead of using the boot. A glaring defensive error then gifted Bective their second try and left Rainey with the task of salvaging some pride from the wreckage. Two penalties from O’Connor left Rainey 20-6 adrift at the break.
Any hopes Rainey may have had of staging a dramatic comeback disappeared when O’Connor sliced a kick straight into touch and Bective scored from the scrum. Rainey switched Martin to out-half as they sought to find a solution, but Bective defended well in their 22’ as Rainey persisted in moving it wide when a more forward orientated approach might have been a better bet.
After 56 minutes, McGowan and Shiels helped Rainey to establish a good field position and it was Shiels who scored to raise the hopes of the away supporters. Without ever looking convincing, Rainey continued to dominate as a Bective forward was yellow carded, but they could not take advantage. Their inability to retain possession in contact was to haunt them again and another sliced penalty let the home side off the hook.
A losing bonus point was a real possibility at this stage, but when Bective ran in an intercept try from halfway on 68 minutes, it was done and dusted. Rainey continued to turn over ball, but finally managed to put some good phases together with second-row Boyle grabbing a consolation try in time added.
Old Boys: G. Martin, M. O’Connor, S. Simpson, D. McMurray, N. Sterling, J. Fleming, P. Kidd, S. Rutledge, G. Fritz, N. O’Kane, P. Boyle, R. Hall, J. McMurray, P. McGowan, M. Shiels. Replacements: A. Kirk, N. Irwin, C. Kernoghan, J. Andrews, K. Donaghy.