Randalstown RFC Notes: I XV 15 v Grosvenor RFC I XV 22 + II XV 19 v Dungannon RFC IV XV 24: Reports LIVE HERE + Action Shots of III XV v Ards RFC IV XV

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Randalstown 1st XV 15 v Grosvenor RFC 22
Randalstown fielded a side minus a number of regulars due to injury and unavailability for this second round Junior Cup clash against Grosvenor RFC.
The match was only a few minutes old when good work by the visitors forwards gave their backs the chance to attack the Randalstown line. The Grosvenor backs moved the ball to the right winger who touched down unopposed. The conversion gave the visitors a 7-0 lead which they added to after 15 minutes when the referee penalised the home forwards at a ruck stretching the lead for Grosvenor to a comfortable 10-0.
Randalstown began to come into the game towards the end of the half and a great break down the wing by Michael Smith followed by a well timed pass into Niall McGlade allowed the winger to touchdown in the corner. This provoked a response from Grosvenor and a score just before half time saw them take a 15-5 lead into the break.
Click HERE for action shots of the III Xv v Ards RFC IV XV
The second half began with the Randalstown pack taking the game to the visitors, with Jonny Adair and Liam Hurrell to the fore. There were also notable contributions from Dee Millar and Gary Hume. Suddendly it was all Randalstown and Niall McGlade added to his tally when beat two defenders to touchdown, a try converted by M Smith. With Grosvenor tiring Randalstown were unlucky not to score further tries; however a well taken Michael Smith penalty brought the scores level at 15-15 with 10 minutes left.
Extra time was looming large and the pendulum had definitely swung in ‘Town’s direction when disaster struck in the form of a handling error in midfield which allowed Grosvenor a chance to break and score a try under the posts against the run of play.
Despite the loss Randalstown coaching staff were pleased with the overall performance of the team and Coach Gary Longwell highlighted the contributions of those players drafted into the 1st XV.
With a number of difficult league games coming up hopefully Randalstown will benefit from a larger pool of players having been exposed to 1st XV rugby. The proof of the pudding will be tested next Saturday away to Carrickfergus.

Dungannon 4th XV 24 Randalstown 2nd XV 19

Randalstown 2nds slumped to a 2nd successive league defeat at Stevenson Park on Saturday afternoon. Missing several regulars ‘Town once again started slowly and allowed the home side to control the early exchanges. They struggled in the set piece, particularly at the line out and Dungannon capitalised on this comfortable supply of possession, camping themselves in the ‘Town half.
Eventually the territorial advantage was rewarded with a try in the corner after the ‘town defence conceded a dubious penalty on their own line.
Randalstown gradually clawed their way back into the game gaining some possession in the Dungannon half. With only a few minutes of the half remaining from a scrum just inside the home half the ball was moved back quickly to allow Turner and Johnston to create space for Peter McCann to burst into the line. The elusive full back danced his way through 3 tackles to touch down under the posts. He added the conversion taking ‘town into a 7-5 half time lead.
Reminiscent of other performances to date this season Randalstown started the 2nd half in fine fettle playing some open fluid rugby and putting pressure on their opposition. Within a couple of minutes this paid dividends as out half Matty ‘boom boom’ Turner placed a perfect grubber behind the Dungannon defence and this bounced kindly for Vernon Thom who picked up and strolled over for another try which McCann again converted.
‘Town continued to play some good rugby from the restart with a lovely move from deep initiated by Thom and Johnston who realeased Ryan McGarry on halfway. The winger raced into the home 22 and chipped over the last defenders before collecting the ball to run in for a well deserved try.
With what looked like a match winning scoreline at this point ‘Town’s confidence was high and they stretched Dungannon at will while McGarry, Thom, Paine and Conceico all came close to increasing the lead further. However Dungannon despite losing a player injured began to play a tight game keeping possession and allowing them to start to dominate again.
A series of short drives close to the line were rewarded by a converted try to narrow the gap to 19-12. Ten minutes later they drew level after creating an overlap to touch down. A penalty opportunity then drifted wide for Dungannon but from the resulting drop out ‘Town failed to secure the ball and it was hacked through giving away a line out on their 5 metre line. In a set piece that hadn’t functioned well for ‘town they conceded a penalty and Dungannon drove over from short range to secure victory at the death.
A dejected ‘Town side had only themselves to blame for not putting the game to bed earlier in half when they were exploiting the wide pitch with their pace. Ultimately it was an inability to secure good set piece ball which was their downfall. Manager Sloane was impressed with the performance of relative novice Graham Hume as he gave a good account of himself in a hard working back row along with Paine and Ferry. At the opposite end of the experience scale Adie Johnston again demonstrated his ability to step up easily, while McCann and McGarry always looked dangerous with ball in hand.
Next Saturday the 1st XV travel to Carrick, the 2nd XV are at home to Lisburn and the 3rd XV travel to Ballynahinch.

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