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SONI Ulster Premiership 28th September 2019
Scorers: Bratton(2*Try), Magrath(1*Try, 4*Conv), Donaghy(1*Try), Harbinson(1*Try), Bloomfield(1*Try)
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Eaton Park has been a happy hunting ground for Rainey Old Boys in recent seasons and they produced a magnificent performance there to score six tries in a 38-7 victory.  Three bonus point wins from three starts leaves them four points ahead of Banbridge in the SONI Premiership which resumes in December.
 
Ballymena, who play Rainey twice in the AIL in mid-season, have pinned their faith in youth as they seek to rebuild.  But they simply had no answer to a fired up Rainey side which hit top form.  A very physical Old Boys pack were particularly impressive in broken play, getting the tackles in and smashing into rucks to set up some great front foot ball for the backs to show what they can do.  The handling and passing was almost faultless throughout as half-backs Bloomfield and Magrath ran the show on an afternoon conducive to a fifteen man game.
 
Ballymena started well, spreading the play and finding touch deep in the Rainey 22'.  But by the 26th minute, Rainey had banked a try scoring bonus point.  After only four minutes, back-row man Adam Bratton, the former Derry player, was on hand to take an offload and go in for the opening try which Magrath converted.
 
Magrath then finished off a spell of concerted pressure, his conversion attempt coming back off an upright. Forwards John McCusker and McSwiggan led a drive which brought them a penalty twenty yards out and, opting for a scrum, Bratton picked up and somehow spotted a gap to go through at the posts.  From the restart, Harbinson and Roberts made great ground before scrum-half Bloomfield jinked his way around several tacklers to slide a little kick through to the corner for wing Donaghy to steam through and pick up the rolling ball for a well-taken try in the corner.  Just on half-time, a scrum had to be reset five times before Rainey powered forward only to lose possession a yard from the line.
 
On the resumption, Rainey went to the corner from a penalty to surge over from the lineout, with flanker Harbinson, who has made a big impact already this season, getting the touchdown.  Bloomfield tnen took advantage of a Ballymena handling error to get on the scoresheet.  A planned move, with Donaghy coming in from the wing to the back of a lineout and link with his centres, split the home side wide open, but a penalty award spoiled a magical moment.
 
Hooker Roberts was everywhere as Rainey continued to dictate until Ballymena broke from their own line to romp clear.  A try looked certain, but Donaghy got across to put in a super tackle and slow down the attack.  Ballymena piled on the pressure in the closing minutes, only to be held up in the corner.  But they had the final say when they spun it wide from a scrum for their right winger to go over for  a lovely try.
 
TEAM: M.Connolly, A.Donaghy, C.Fitzsimons, M.O'Neill, H.Evans, A.McSwiggan, B.Roberts, F.Quinn, J.McCusker, R.McCusker, A.Harbinson, A.Bratton, J.Bresland.
REPLACEMENTS: K.Donaghy, D.McElroy, J.McIntosh, M.McCusker, M.Mulholland.