City Of Derry RFC: I XV 48 v Rainey Old Boys RFC I XV 8 – REPORT HERE

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Match Report by; George Walker
City of Derry Rugby Club travelled to Magherafelt on Saturday last for a local derby in the Ulster Senior League and came away with a resounding eight try victory over Rainey Old Boys. The Judges Road men scored four try’s in each half and were ahead by 24pts to 3pts at half time with the four try bonus point in the bag. This Derry victory comes on the back of a narrow victory at home to Ballymena also in the League the previous weekend and with Armagh to come at home this Wednesday night 7.45pm Kick-off, Coaches Mark Nicholl and Ashley Blair will be pleased with another winning performance and momentum as the All Ireland League starts on the last Saturday in September.
The Derry Coaches had worked hard all week to try and increase the physicality at the breakdown and in the tackle and with a few big hits by Derry early on from Stephens Ferguson, Corr and Dickey they set the tone for the afternoon. However Rainey opened the scoring when their out half Stuart Simpson slotted over a penalty after 7 minutes for a 3pts to nil lead. Derry were firing on all cylinders with a return to form of their back line especially David Funston and Ryan Campbell. The Judges Road men were to butcher three guilt edge chances early but it was not detrimental to their momentum.
Derry were securing the Lions share of possession and went ahead on 14 minutes following great cleaning up work by hooker David Ferguson which lead to a midfield break from Man of the Match Stephen Dickey, he passed to Adam Bratton to score an unconverted try. The quality of Derry’s support play lead to their second try, their outstanding back row of Dickey, Stephen Ferguson and Richard Baird exchanged passes to release David Houston to score an unconverted try in the corner after 20 minutes and Derry were ahead by 10pts to 3pts
Derry’s third try came on the half hour mark straight from the training ground with a well rehearsed line out move. The impressive hooker David Ferguson found David Houston in the Lineout who passed off the top to Richie Baird who waltzed through a pre planned space untouched and dotted the ball down nonchalantly for a try which was converted by Richard McCarter for a 17prs to 3pts lead..
Despite going down to 14 men following a yellow card shown to Jack Caithness on 34 minutes Derry now were in total control with captain David Funston showing great elusive running through the large gaps in the Rainey defence. He found Ryan Campbell who was playing on the wing to score a try by the posts which was converted by Richard McCarter leaving the half time score Rainey Old Boys 3pts City of Derry 24pts.
The second half started as the first half had ended with Derry’s dominance making life difficult for the Rainey players to handle. Simon Logue who had stepped in from the wing to cover at scrum half darted over for a try after forty five minutes after receiving a pass from the Derry number 8 Stephen Ferguson. Derry introduced Chris Shields, Paul McFeely and Cathal Creggan into the front row as the second half progressed and they were followed shortly afterwards by Neil Burns and Jack Hargan who entered the fray for their first City Of Derry appearances on 52 minutes on either wing.
Things did not improve for Rainey as they lost their tight head prop for 10 minutes to the sin bin following a offence at scrum time and they also lost Ex-Derry youth player Stuart Simpson to a nasty head injury as he attempted to tackle one of the now rampant Derry backs. Derry’s sixth try came after persistent pressure on the Rainey line and following several phases of play David Funston barged his way over for another try converted by McCarter. Derry’s number 8 Stephen Ferguson never failed to get to the gain line all day and it needed at least 2 defenders each time to stop him. Derry’s seventh try continued the similar theme throughout the game. The support play involving prop Paul McFeely and centre Adam Bratton leading to Jack Caithness receiving the final pass to score between the posts.
Derry’s final try came from a moment of individual brilliance by Simon Logue who picked up from the base of the scrum to jink his way through several Rainey defenders to make his way over the line from 50 metres out. Rainey scored a consolation try on 73 minutes when saw winger Kyle Moore score in the corner.
The final score of 49pts to 8pts was an accurate reflection on the ability of the Derry players to make the right decisions on the field and take advantage of the opportunities that came their way. All the Derry players contributed to a very entertaining game however the Derry back row of Dickey, Baird and Ferguson were immense throughout the day both in attack and defence and many of the coaches training drills are now bearing fruit on match days. Derry now look forward to playing Armagh this Wednesday the 18th of September under lights at Judges Road with a 7.45pm Kick-off.
City of Derry Team V Rainey; Steven Jefferson, David Ferguson, Sam Duffy, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Richard Baird, Stephen Dickey, Stephen Ferguson, Jack Caithness, Richard McCarter, Simon Logue, Adam Bratton, David Funston, Ryan Campbrll, William McCleery. Replacements; Chris Shields, Cathal Creggan, Paul McFeely, Jack Hargan, Neil Burns.

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