AFTER an enforced spell of indoor training, Rainey Old Boys were glad to get in some real match practice at The Thomas Mellon Playing Fields where they took on Qualifying 2 leaders Omagh.
And while it was a bit scrappy at times, it was a useful enough exercise on a heavy surface for their eighteen man squad. Rolling substitutions were made throughout so that every player saw at least thirty minutes of game time.
Michael Shiels and Nathan Rankin did well to arrive in Omagh just at kick-off time, having thought that the fixture was at Ophir!
When they eventually got going, Rainey put together some good moves, but were frustrated by some very lax refereeing which let Omagh slow down their possession time and again.
They looked like cutting loose at a stage, but their finishing was not clinical enough and in the end had to settle for a 20-15 victory.
Omagh started well and Hawe came to Rainey’s rescue with a great tackle near his own line. On several occasions Rainey clearances were held up by a cold crosswind but when Sciscia jinked his way through the back of a lineout with support from Hawe, they strung together a number of impressive phases which should have resulted in a try.
But within a minute they were back on the attack and full-back Paul crossed near the posts to give them a 5-0 lead.
Omagh hit back, but were denied by a fine tackle by Montgomery. They kicked a penalty, but escaped when Rainey wing Campbell was squeezed out after goodwork by Shiels and Boyle. However, Rainey disrupted the next scrum for Hawe to nip in at the corner to make it 10-3.
Omagh’s pacy backs moved the ball well when given the opportunity, but Rainey finished the half well and looked set to score only for the ball to go forward when Boyle was halted with the line in sight.
Rainey played their best rugby on the resumption, but Omagh somehow survived and broke to the other end to score a shock try. Despite an increase in the number of transgressions which went unnoticed, Montgomery scrambled over to make it 15-8 and wing Wilson chipped over his opposite number and gathered to leave Rainey 20-8 ahead.
Rainey found themselves pinned back for a spell, but out-half Martin made a break which allowed Wilson to clear upfield. Dominant in the scrum,Rainey took control, with their ball carriers making good ground up the middle.
Prop O’Kane stood out and should be a bonus for the second half of the AIL campaign. Omagh scored another breakaway try after 75 minutes, but Rainey finished on top with O’Kane stopped by a good tackle when he was poised to score.
Rainey Squad : R.Paul, A.Campbell, W.Montgomery, D.McMurray, A.Clarke, G.Martin, P.Sciascia, S.McDowell, K.Donaghy, N.O’Kane, P.Boyle, R.Hall, M.Shiels, S.Hawe, D.Dawson, C.Heaney, P.Wilson, N.Rankin.
Rainey’s opponents in the AIL on January 28 at Hatrick Park are Connemara, who defeated Wanderers 16-13 at the Monastery Field on Saturday.
Rainey O.B. 2nd XV had another good win in Conference 4 when they beat Ards 2nd XV by 44-5 at Hatrick Park.
Five of their six tries came from the backs whose finishing was clinical on the day. But it was the forwards who took the honours, providing scrum-half Donaghy with a great supply of quality ball. Try scorers were full-back Cassidy, wing Donnelly, centres Devlin and McBride, Donaghy and second-row Hutchinson.
Devlin added four conversions and two penalties. The half-time score was 24-0.
Scrum-half Walker was the match-winner as Rainey O.B. 4th XV snatched an 18-17 victory over Portadown 5th XV at Chambers Park. Trailing with only two minutes left on the clock, Rainey were awarded a penalty when full-back McVey was obstructed as he competed for a loose ball near the Portadown line. Tempted to take a tap penalty, they were persuaded instead to go for the posts and Walker duly obliged from a wide angle.
The lead changed hands several times, with Rainey 15-10 ahead at the break.
Wingers Scullion and McElhone scored their tries, while Walker landed a conversion and a penalty before that late spectacular effort.
In the Forster Cup,Rainey O.B. 3 scored four tries in beating Ophir 2 by 25-7.
Fixtures for January 21st
3rd XV v Academy 2 (A)
4th XV v Cookstown (H) 2.30 p.m.