Rainey Old Boys 27-10 Dungannon
After a frustrating run of demoralising defeats, Rainey were pleased to mark their last home game in the Ulster Bank League with a victory.
While they made heavy weather of beating a struggling Dungannon side, they showed glimpses of the form of which they are capable.
Some promising build-up play was followed all too often by careless, basic errors and it took them far too long to put some daylight between the sides.
They had to wait until added time before the try of the match, finished off by Alan Clarke, gave the scoreline a look that was a more accurate reflection of the play.
Rainey had Tim Barker back after a long absence and introduced Michael Wilson to partner Michael Pyper at half-back, but were soon trailing when out-half Milligan converted a close range penalty.
Rainey were on terms immediately as fullback O’Connor moved in to drop a goal into the wind from fully 45 yards.
The Old Boys had an obvious edge behind the set piece, but a lot of good work came to nothing. Wings Clarke and Stirling were clearly in the mood to inflict damage with support, but the visitors who conjured up a try from nothing.
From a scrum on halfway, non-existent defence on the narrow side was exploited and when play moved acrossfield, more slack defending let Dungannon scrum-half Bates in for a try, Milligan converting.
Flanker Dawson raised home hopes when he drove for the posts with only one man to beat, but his offload found a blue and white jersey.
Wilson and Barker made good ground into the Dungannon 22, but the support was too slow and Pyper then failed to execute a pick-up when a counter from O’Connor set up a clear opportunity.
They had to settle for two O’Connor penalties late in the half, with Dungannon losing a player to the sin-bin.
With the wind now behind them, Rainey were expected to step up a gear or two, but they toiled to make an impact.
On 52 minutes, a well-placed kick from Wilson presented them with the chance they had been waiting for and the pack eventually rumbled over with Dawson getting the touchdown.
The elusive Wilson nearly broke clear and O’Connor missed a penalty as Dungannon rarely crossed halfway.
A beautifully executed move saw centre McCluskey send O’Connor through a big gap at pace, but he failed to hit the flying Clarke with his pass.
Great hands from Damien Mc Murray led to second-row McCusker charging towards posts, but again Dungannon escaped, as they did moments later when Rainey managed to butcher a try on the left, with men queuing up to score.
Front-row men Roe and Rutledge joined in on the act,only for their colleagues to concede a silly penalty.
With ten minutes remaining, a great touch find set up another ideal situation,but Rainey opted to take the points when Dungannon were penalised.
Yet another catch and drive attempt produced nothing, but a strike against the head brought them another penalty and three more points.
They finished on a high note when they flashed the ball along the line for Clarke to streak away from the halfway line.
Rainey team: M O’Connor, A Clarke, R McCluskey, D McMurray, N Stirling, M Pyper, M Wilson, A Shaw, J Roe, N O’Kane, T Barker, P Stewart, D Dawson, E Shaw, J McMurray. Replacements: S Rutledge, R McCusker, P Boyle, C Fulton, T O’Hagan.