Hatrick Park hosted its first ever competitive game under floodlights last Wednesday night when Rainey met Banbridge in a re-arranged Ulster League fixture
They marked the occasion with a comfortable 43-14 victory over the county Down side who, like Rainey, took the opportunity to give many of their squad players some game time.
While the high winds of the previous forty-eight hours had abated, the rain that fell almost throughout led to some early handling errors, but thereafter the players coped well in the conditions.
Showing wholesale changes from the lineup that started against Dungannon, Rainey soon gained a clear edge up front and were soon ahead when out-half Martin was on hand to score when Stirling was held just short.
They moved further ahead when, from a quickly taken penalty, Stewart was helped over near the posts, O’Connor converting.
When Banbridge threatened for the only time in the half, Rainey stood firm and on the stroke of half-time Gordon scored a fine try by slipping through a lovely little grubber kick along the touchline before controlling it to touch down in the corner.
O’Connor made it 19-0 with a great kick.
Simon Best’s young side looked set to score an intercept try on the restart, but Gordon got back well to save the day and Lees and Stirling countered in style to create a try for Martin at the other end.
Banbridge opened their account when they scored from a tap penalty, but Gordon then did well to hold a low pass at speed for another well taken try.
Banbridge then strung together some good phases, but turned over ball for Rainey to move it wide where O’Connor and Gordon exchanged passes twice along the line with the latter completing a fine hat-trick. McCloskey converted.
In the last minute, Rainey drove into the Banbridge 22’ for loose-head O’Hagan to take a short pass on the burst and storm over.
Team: M O’Connor, M Gordon, S McCloskey, J McMurray, N Stirling, G Martin, C Fulton, T O’Hagan, C Donaghy, A Shaw, R McCusker, P Stewart, J Lees, C O’Neill, S Mackie.
Replacements: N O’Kane, M Wilson, P Boyle, D Dawson, M Barr.