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U20 Friendly 3rd January 2018
Scorers: Lynch(1*Try), Andrews(1*Try), Hall(1*Try), McLean(1*Try, 5*Conv),  Lloyd-Evans(2*Try)

Photos

 

Thankfully, Storm Eleanor had vacated Magherafelt as Rainey OB and Limavady U20s lined out last Wednesday night under the Meadowbank lights, in the latest round of the Northern Region monthly U20 games.  Although Rainey emerged 40 – 7 winners, it was a tight fought contest with the visitors pushing the home side all the way.
 
The rain finally ceased as Rainey started with a slight wind advantage, but it was Limavady who made all the early running, forcing Rainey back into their 22’.  They piled on the pressure, but when Rainey forced their way out, and eventually won a turnover, A.Brown split the Limavady defence and powered downfield into the opposition 22’.  Cleverly drawing his man, he fed the supporting Lynch who had a straightforward run-in for Rainey’s opener.  McLean converted with a great kick, the first of five he nailed on the night.
 
From the restart, Rainey engaged in a comedy of errors, as one needless penalty followed another, allowing Limavady to progress towards the line.  They topped it off when the attackers spun the ball wide and the referee decided a clear try had been prevented by a deliberate knock-on, and duly awarded a penalty try.
 
Both sides then proceeded to make good ground in attack, only for silly handling errors or indiscipline to cost them field position, and the game see-sawed with neither team making much headway.  The Rainey scrum was becoming increasingly dominant however, and when they took one against the head on half-way, Lynch broke wide down the left and the ball was flashed along the backs as they made it into the Limavady 22’.  Quick ruck ball allowed Lynch to feed Andrews, who powered through a couple of tackles to touch down under the posts.
 
The Rainey scrum was now rampant, with Quinn to the fore, and when they won another against the head on their own 10m line, the backs spun it right, before Hall ran a great line back inside and cut the oncoming defence to ribbons.  He powered down the middle of the park, left two covering defenders floundering, and scored between the posts with an outstretched arm, just as he was hauled down a metre out.
 
The second half opened with another series of Rainey handling errors, as their lack of awareness as a team was exposed.  Time and again, they were slightly out of position, the ball was passed behind them or the pass was fired with more power than necessary.  On multiple occasions, they carved through the Limavady defence, only for a knock-on to bring proceedings to a halt.   Eventually, however, something had to go their way, and when it came it was a beauty.  Limavady hit a long clearance kick towards the Rainey left wing, and when Walker gathered it, he set off infield, making close to halfway, before offloading to the oncoming McLean.  He stretched his legs and broke left, rounding the entire Limavady defence before going over in the corner for a great try.  For once he was off-target with the conversion.
 
Despite Limavady’s continuing best efforts, they were unable to progress far against the Rainey defence, with a series of pick-and-go’s by the forwards the only tactic that was bringing them moderate success.  By contrast, in defence they held Rainey a bay for long periods.  A.Brown almost cut his way through, Hall and Andrews both came close to the line, and Lawrence had a couple of good runs, but on each occasion they were thwarted.
 
As full-time approached, Lynch made a good break down the left, and when scrum-half Lloyd-Evans collected the ball at the foot of the ensuing ruck on half-way, he spotted a gap, darted through and sprinted to the line untouched by the defenders.  A few minutes later, he added another, diving over under the posts following a great run down the middle of the pitch by P.Brown.