RAINEY Old Boys Rugby: club Notes: STIRRING COMEBACK BY RAINEY & 3rds Win away

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After being completely outplayed for almost half an hour at Rifle Park,Rainey Old Boys showed remarkable character in hitting back to beat Banbridge 20-15 in the Ulster Bank League.A week after staging an unbelievable comeback to pip Greystones,Banbridge will be asking themselves how they managed to lose this one,a result which has cost them their top four place.Not even the most ardent of Rainey followers would have predicted an away win when Banbridge led 12-0 after 29 minutes,but a flash of brilliance from scrum-half Peter Sciascia and an intercept try on the hour mark inspired Rainey to hold on for a hard-earned victory.
Banbridge could have easily been out of sight before Rainey managed to establish a foothold in the game.Already without the unavailable Hawe,a vital cog in their wheel,Rainey lost their other star flanker Heaney after only 19 minutes with a calf injury.His withdrawal added to the workload of lineout men Shiels and Dawson,but they competed well against a big Banbridge pack.Last week an intercept try proved costly,but on this occasion it spurred them on in a rousing encounter.The tackle count rose sharply in the final quarter as Banbridge used their big ball carriers to pound away at the Rainey backs,but on the day Rainey were not to be denied a great win.
A knock-on straight from the kick-off set the tone for Rainey.The gales and heavy rain of the previous two days had relented sufficiently for Banbridge to throw the ball about and Rainey seldom touched it in the opening minutes.When they finally reached the Banbridge 22′ after seven minutes,they lost the lineout from which the home side broke clear with numbers on the right to place centre Morrison for a try at the posts.Thompson converted.A controlled maul took Rainey thirty yards upfield,but they coughed up possession yet again and when Banbridge increased their lead after 18 minutes it was no more than they deserved.Moving Rainey around the field in confident style,they worked their way into a striking position for flanker Bickerstaff to apply the coup de grace.
Rainey just could not hang on to the ball as Banbridge did almost as they pleased,but the picture changed when Sciascia made a lovely break from a scrum in midfield to send full-back O’Connor away for a shock try which he converted from in front of the posts.Mac Mahon and Mc Crea then made good ground from a free kick before the ball was moved wide and a penalty awarded to Rainey.O’Connor hit the target from 30 yards to further reduce the deficit as the half ended in drama.Banbridge full-back Finlay took a high kick on the run in his own half to break through the middle and chip ahead.Sciascia did well to get back and drop on the ball which then squirted over the goal line,causing more consternation in the Rainey ranks.But,spotting a chance to counter out of defence,they opened it to wing Campbell who took off from behind his own goal line and reached the home 22′ before being forced into touch.Rainey then secured possession on the ground for Sciascia to break along the touchline and kick ahead into the Banbridge 22′.Stealing lineout ball,they edged towards the posts only to spill the ball when trying to switch the point of attack.
O’Connor put Rainey in front four minutes into the second half and their harassing was clearly starting to unsettle the opposition,but when a Banbridge forward broke clear out of the blue,they were at panic stations and eventually conceded a penalty which Thompson kicked.Five minutes later he was presented with another opportunity,but hooked his shot at goal and as Banbridge maintained pressure,O’Connor intercepted on his 22′ and never looked like being caught.His simple conversion took his personal tally to twenty points.
A great piece of spoiling by Sciascia helped Rainey to a penalty,but O’Connor pulled his attempt.Tackling everything that moved,Rainey were willing to use the ball when a chance came along and Sciascia and Campbell combined to give them field position in the Banbridge 22′.Banbridge continued to use their heaviest forwards as battering rams,but Rainey did not wilt and great work at the base of a scrum and a long clearance from out-half Martin gave them some breathing space.In time added on,Banbridge were back in the Rainey half,but a defiant defence was not to be breached.
TEAM : M.O’Connor,A.Campbell,R.Paul,J.Mac Mahon,R.Devlin,G.Martin,P.Sciascia,N.Amos,S.Sufferin,N.O’Kane,P.Boyle,M.Shiels,D.Dawson,P.Heaney,R.Mc Crea.
REPLACEMENTS : A.Harbinson ( Heaney 19 ) P.Suiter (Devlin 49 ) C.Donaghy ( Sufferin 71 ) R.Hall ( Amos 71 )

Other Division 3 results : Derry 27-20 Wanderers Connemara 7-22 Sunday’s Well Greystones 55-0 Ards Naas 0-13 Highfield Navan 8-9 Nenagh Ormond Seapoint 17-24 Instonians

FIXTURES for 12 February
Ards v Banbridge Highfield v Seapoint Instonians v Navan Naas v Suttonians Nenagh Ormond v Greystones Rainey O.B. v City of Derry Wanderers v Connemara Sunday’s Well v Barnhall

Rainey O.B. 111 beat Grosvenor 111 by 39 points to 14 at Belmont in the second roiund of the Forster Cup.Try scorers were centre Mc Bride 2,flanker Murray 2 and second row C. Patterson who was alert when Irvine’s kick at goal sliced towards the corner flag.Irvine did manage to convert the other tries,as well as land two penalty goals.

Fixtures – Sat.12 Feb,
1st XV v City of Derry AIL home 2.30 p.m.
3rd XV v Cooke 111 home 2.30 p.m.
4th XV v Strabane 11 home 2.30 p.m.

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