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SONI Ulster League 26th September 2017
Scorers: Pritchard(1*Try), McIlroy(1*Try,1*Conv)

Ulster League points were on offer at Upritchard Park where Bangor and Rainey Old Boys met in Section B of the Soni Championship.  But, with the AIL programme now less than three weeks away, both sides were more interested in performance rather than points.  With the much-travelled Lewis Stevenson now at Player/Coach, Bangor have been encouraged by their pre-season form and the addition of  the former Ulster forward gives them a big pack whose dominance in the tight won the game for them on Saturday.  Rainey tried a number of permutations in the front five at Bangor and will hope that they can come up with an answer to their problems sooner rather than later.  Forced into living off scraps for much of the game, they played some very good rugby to get back into the picture, but a late score saw Bangor home on a 22-12 scoreline.

Bangor were first to threaten with a superb box kick giving them field position.  The homesters spurned several shots at goal to go for tries and the Rainey pack was subjected to a testing examination as the penalty count against them rose to ridiculous proportions.  Rainey hooker Donaghy was yellow carded and the inevitable penalty try put Bangor 7-0 ahead.  On a lush surface, it was not looking good and centre McMurray was then binned for joining a ruck from the side.  The next scrum produced another penalty try, leaving Bangor 14-0 up at the break.

McIlroy made a nice break in midfield and kicked ahead to force a five metre scrum from which they had a few goes before flanker Pritchard stole away from a maul to claim a try which McIlroy converted.  The highly talented Ballymena lad was immensely impressive in difficult circumstances and is sure to prove an inspired acquisition.  The restart kick was dropped to hand the initiative back to Bangor and after a series of scrums, referee Chris Busby  yet again penalised Rainey to hand Bangor another three points.  Rainey made a flurry of substitutions and positional switches as they stretched Bangor at times with some sharp handling to dominate territorially for a spell.  Their efforts were rewarded with a brilliant solo try from centre Josh McIlroy.  From a lineout on the Rainey 10', the ball went over the top and was flicked up for McIlroy to take it above his head and leave the Bangor defence standing.  He then evaded the closing cover to touch down half way out for a stunning individual effort.

Bangor were sweating again when a hack through took Rainey to within striking distance, but the loss of lineout man Ronan McCusker further hampered the Old Boys' plans and when Bangor finally reached the Rainey end, their scrum did the business.

TEAM:  R.Lamberton, A.Donaghy, J.McIlroy, D.McMurray, P.McCusker, J.Bloomfield, A.McSwiggan, K.Donaghy, A.Kirk, R.McCusker, P.Stewart, M.Miller, M.McCusker, P.Pritchard.

REPLACEMENTS:  M.Nevin, J.Higgins, F.Quinn, D.Devlin, A.Moran.