Lisburn Finish With Win Over Randalstown
Randalstown 15 – Lisburn 20
At Randalstown last Saturday, in a rain sodden match, Lisburn finished up their Qualifying League commitments by repeating their early season win over the home club. Played in very wet conditions on a soft surface, both teams tried to play attractive rugby but eventually it was down to Lisburn’s stronger pack and the astute play of their halfbacks Crothers and Finlay which saw them prevail in a keenly fought contest. After 15 minutes play Lisburn got the breakthrough which their early pressure warranted when number eight Mark Hill went in for a score from a five metre scrum and Crothers converted to give Lisburn a 0-7 lead. Randalstown then came back to create pressure of their own but a missed simple penalty on 25 minutes caused disheartenment. Crothers increased the Lisburn lead ten minutes later with a further penalty in front of the posts but following this Randalstown were unlucky to lose a player with a bad injury which required the match to be temporarily delayed. On the re-start Lisburn applied more pressure with Mark Hill going in for his second try of the afternoon. Just before the half time whistle the Randalstown full back, who had been playing well all afternoon, kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears to 3-15.
For most of the second half Lisburn were the dominant force in both the set pieces and loose exchanges but Randalstown, despite being down to 14 men, were playing with great spirit and keeping the visitors out when scores looked certain. The weather conditions were deteriorating all the time making running rugby a risk but on one occasion when they did decide to run with the ball, on the 30 minute mark, Owen Hilary was at the end of it to get the breakthrough score. While the difficult conversion failed, Lisburn were now in the ascendancy and with a 3-20 lead.
However, with just ten minutes remaining and with a good lead in the bag, Lisburn, thinking tentatively about a bonus point try, took their foot off the pedal and Randalstown did not need a second invitation. They started to run the ball freely and within eight minutes had scored twelve points through two tries and a conversion. The final two minutes saw Lisburn defend stoutly to run out winners by 15 points to 20.
This win brings Lisburn up the table to 5th spot behind Bangor, Ballyclare, Omagh and Enniskillen, though a number of Clubs still have to play further games. Next Saturday the 2nd XV travel to play Coleraine 2s while the 3rd XV travel to play Carrick 3s on the following Wednesday evening (27th).