Malone 60-16 Rainey OB-
Friday night lights came to Magherafelt last weekend when Rainey Old Boys played their first ever game on the 3G surface at Meadowbank.
The visit of Division 1B side Malone for a quarter-final Senior Cup tie attracted a good crowd on a good night for rugby, but they had little to cheer as the Cregagh Road side cruised to a landslide 60-16 victory.
Still without several key players, Rainey were hit by a couple of late absentees and were unwilling to risk some of their elder statesmen, leaving them once again with a very inexperienced young starting line-up.
Malone also had a number of regulars absent, but their replacements were able to slot into a side whose lines of running and pace onto tha ball had Rainey floundering for much of the game.
Rainey did have their moments, but were unable to apply the coup de grace and put themselves under pressure at times by making unforced errors.
To their credit, they kept at it and will simply have to bite the bullet until some of their front line return to action.
Rainey’s evening of misery began straight from the kick-off which failed to travel the required distance.
From the scrum, Malone advanced to the 22’ and a few phases later ran in the first of their nine tries.
Rainey gradually gained a foothold in the game with full-back McCloskey kicking two penalties and, despite their problems in the scrum, went ahead through McCloskey when prop Rutledge broke from a maul to establish a perfect attacking platform.
Malone, however, soon regained the lead and added another try before Rainey flanker Mackie was shown the yellow card.
A quickly-taken penalty then gave them acres of space down the left and their fifth try summed up Rainey’s night.
A long kick ran over the dead ball line, but the referee indicated that the ball had come off a Rainey hand and duly awarded Malone a five metre scrum from which they scored.
At times it appeared as if Number 8 McGowan was playing the Gibson Park side on his own, but, when a Malone forward was sin-binned for backchat, Rainey did everything but score in the closing minutes of the half.
The introduction of forwards O’Kane and Barker helped to shore up the Rainey scrum, but it did not prevent the visitors from adding to their lead. Rainey replied when Gordon won the chase after out-half Emerson had hacked a loose ball upfield.
When McGowan and McCloskey had to retire with leg injuries, the floodgates opened, with Malone scoring almost at will in the last fifteen minutes.
Rainey: R McCloskey, J Crowe, J McMurray, M Gordon, N Stirling, T Emerson, C Fulton, S Rutledge, A Shaw, R Squires, P Boyle, P Stewart, D Dawson, S Mackie, P McGowan.
Replacements: N O’Kane, T Barker, J Roe, G Martin, E Shaw.