Northern Bank Medallion Bowl: Rainey Endowed School Rugby I xV 27 v Grosvenor Grammar School Rugby I XV 7

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On Wednesday 23rd March Rainey and Grosvenor contested the Medallion Bowl final in near perfect conditions at Ballymena Academy. In front of a large crowd, Rainey played into the breeze and from the kick off went on the offensive. However, good defensive work from Grosvenor prevented any scores. Grosvenor then tested the Rainey defence on a few occasions, but their defence also held firm. Mid way through the first half, good use of the blindside by Kieran Lynch created a great attacking position. After a number of phases close to the Grosvenor line, Samuel Hawe drove over for the first try of the game. The conversion was missed to give Rainey a 5 – 0 lead.

Grosvenor came back immediately and stretched the Rainey defence on a number of occasions. Only good tackling from Rainey wingers Stephen Kelso and Rigan Sanderson prevented a Grosvenor score.

Towards the end of the second half a lovely line break by Rainey fullback, Gavin Pollock, brought play close to the Grosvenor line. Again the close game paid dividends for Rainey, with number 8 Conal Murphy driving over to make the score 10 – 0 at half time. At the beginning of the second half Grosvenor made Rainey work very hard. They played the pick and go game very intelligently and went wide at the right times. Rainey really struggled to get their hands on the ball and only great tackling by Ewan Lennox, Mark Kavanagh and Matthew McCready kept them out. Eventually, about 10 minutes into the second half Grosvenors possession was rewarded with a try, which was converted from out wide to leave the score line 10 – 7 to Rainey. Many teams would have wobbled, but Rainey responded positively by going on the offensive. Some intelligent kicking and strong running by Allan Stockman lead to the third Rainey try. Good work by half backs, Cameron Noble and Kieran Lynch put Gavin Pollock in. The conversion was missed, but Rainey had a 2 try cushion at 15 – 7. The Rainey side now sensed victory and went with all out attack. Their influential captain, David McClelland was now controlling the game. Up front, Timmy Andrews, Paul Ferson and Johny Stewart paved the way for Conal Murphy to power over for his second try. Samuel Hawe converted and Rainey now lead 22 – 7. Rainey now gave all the bench a run out, and in the final few minutes Cameron Noble nipped in for their 5th try and a 27 – 7 victory. In the closing minutes Rainey gave all their replacements a run. Ryan Hueston, Matthew Kerr, Stephen Duncan, George Turkington, Stephen McAuley and Thomas Carelton all helped play their part in this famous victory. A jubilant Rainey support watched David McClelland receive the Medallion Bowl from Ulster Branch Representative Barney McGonigle. Thanks are due to Rainey coaches Michael Sargent, Noel Sargent and Stuart Staples. The whole Rainey squad would also like to thank their sponsors Albert J Speer Building Contractor and Colin Francis Cars.

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