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Ulster Bank AIL 1st December 2018
Scorers: Magrath(1*Conv, 1*Pen), Forwards(1*Pen Try)


The lights were on before kick-off at Hatrick Park where Rainey Old Boys met Belfast Harlequins on matchday 7 of the AIL.  But while the rain that fell all morning relented shortly after kick-off, conditions underfoot were the real winners on the day.  With both sides struggling to control the wet ball, it was soon clear that this poor, stop-start affair would produce few tries.  Rainey again failed to push on after going 10-0 up and in the end were happy to hold on as they fell apart in the final quarter.  The Deramore side kept plugging away to pick up a losing bonus point with a try in the last play of the game.  This 10-7 victory takes Rainey up to fourth place in the table with Corinthians and Sunday's Well both losing.

Quins missed a very kickable penalty after only four minutes, but, with their lineout disrupting Rainey on their throw, they bossed the early exchanges without creating anything.  Magrath put the Old Boys in the corner, but they came away with nothing.  But from the next lineout, Quins were penalised and Magrath made no mistake from 30 yards.  Some smart Rainey handling saw Donaghy progress down the left, but after two phases, they coughed up possession.  No8 Pritchard then released hooker Fritz with a short pass on halfway.  The lively little South African headed diagonally into the visitors' 22' where he offloaded to wing McLean who was forced into touch by the last line of defence just short of the line.

A big scrum helped Rainey's confidence as they dominated territorially, but they lost far too much ball in contact.  After 36 minutes, they finally increased their lead.  Another long kick from Magrath and a fumble took Rainey right to the Quins' line where the home pack put the squeeze on the Quins' eight to earn a penalty.  As the reset scrum reached the white line, the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try.


Quins then had a player yellow carded for fielding a high kick with his foot raised dangerously in front of an approaching opponent.  The second half followed a similar pattern with Magrath frequently finding promising positions, but control was lacking.  The referee found reason to penalise them time and again as they set back ruck ball and their discipline cracked with replacements Browne and Nevin both dismissed shortly after coming on.  Not for the first time this season, Rainey were reduced to thirteen men.  An ambitious drop goal attempt from Magrath sailed well wide, while McLean struck a 52 yard penalty attempt very well, only to watch it just miss the target.  Fritz looked sure to score when he broke from the tail five yards out, but the ball somehow wound up in the hands of a Quins man and they cleared the danger.  Five minutes of added time saw Quins in the Rainey 22', a last gasp try bringing the Belfast men what could prove to be a useful point.

TEAM:  M.O'Neill, A.Donaghy, D.McMurray,  O.Quinn, S.McLean, A.Magrath, J.Bloomfield, J.McIntosh, J.McCusker, T.Barker, M.Caithness, P.Pritchard, M.McCusker, G.Fritz, K.Donaghy.

REPLACEMENRS  :  F.Quinn, L.Quinn, M.Nevin, A.Browne, C.Fitzsimons.