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Ulster Bank AIL 30th September 2017
Scorers: Bloomfield(1*Try), J.McCusker(1*Try), Rutledge(1*Try), Magrath(2*Pen, 1*Conv)

Photos

 

After a stellar effort at Navan, it was perhaps, inevitable that Rainey Old Boys might struggle to produce that level of performance at Deramore Park where they would have been seeking a winning bonus point.  They won by a comfortable enough 23-7 margin, but missed out on a bonus which they did not deserve.  They had plenty of possession and found themselves in countless strong field positions, but made far too many handling errors, persisting on going for offloads that were simply too ambitious.

 

When Collegians and North amalgamated in 1999, they enjoyed reasonable success as Belfast Harlequins in the top Division of the AIL. But in recent seasons, they have struggled and been unable to halt the slide.  After two successive relegations, they can no longer attract the top young players and face a long winter after losing their first three games.

 

Despite having to make several changes for this game, Rainey were able to field a strong side at a scenic venue where conditions could hardly have been better.  It was one-way traffic from the off as Rainey sought to put width on the ball at every opportunity.  After ten minutes, they went left from a scrum in the 22' and back infield for scrum-half Bloomfield to nip through a gap.  Out - half Magrath converted.  Rainey continued to dictate, but were caught napping when a high kick was fielded on the left and the Rainey defence was guilty of ball- watching as McAuley went down the touchline to put Gribbin over at the posts.

 

Rainey right-wing Robert Lamberton, a very good player who has had very few chances to show what he can do, picked up an ankle injury which could keep him on the sidelines for some time.  Rainey still asked most of the questions, with captain Damien McMurray making a good break in midfield.  A succession of careless errors made it a disappointing affair, but with half-time nearing, South African hooker Brad Roberts broke from a lineout on halfway and when collared just short, offloaded to the supporting John McCusker who touched down in the corner.

 

Rainey threatened straight from the restart, but had to settle for a Magrath penalty.  He found the target again from 40 yards when the Quins backs were caught encroaching.  The best passage of rugby of the day brought Rainey a try on 52 minutes.  From a scrum in their own 22', they went left and back infield for the support to take it on,d eep into the Quins 22'.  From another scrum, they kept it tight until prop Rutledge spotted a little opening.  The conversion hit a post.

 

Jody McMurray managed to break the gain line, but lacked support and when he hacked the ball on into the home 22', a stranded defender was allowed to take a rather generous amount of time to get back on his feet before a tackle was permitted.  A rare Quins attack almost brought them a try before No8 Stewart broke from a Rainey scrum with Pritchard on his shoulder and full-back Quinn getting involved, but that bonus point continued to prove elusive.  In time added, Rainey had two more great chances of completing their task, but from ideal attacking positions in the Quins 22' they were unable to do so.

TEAM: O.Quinn, R.Lamberton, D.McMurray, J.McMurray, P.McCusker, A.Magrath, J.Bloomfield, S.Rutledge, B.Roberts, F.Quinn, T.Barker, R.McCusker, A.Harbinson, P.Stewart, P.Pritchard

REPLACEMENTS: J.McCusker, N.Stirling, M.Nevin, A.Kirk, A.Donaghy