Randalstown RFC Notes: II XV 51 v Cooke RFC III XV 0

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Randalstown 2nds produced some fine flowing rugby in a 51-0 romp away to Cooke 3s. The young ‘Town side, with only 2 players over 22, used the dry wide pitch to their advantage running the ball at every opportunity.

The visitors opened the scoring with what turned out to be Matty Turner’s only successful punt at goal, converting a penalty opportunity. With 10 minutes played debutants Mark McCullough and Joe Cross were both heavily involved in a spell of pressure which was finished off by full back Emmett Crawford. ‘Town continued to dominate with Turner dictating play at 10 and any loose kicks from Cooke being run straight back at them. Three tries in quick succession just before the half hour mark were therefore just reward for all the ‘Town possession.

First up was a rangy run from winger Thom which started the scoring move before Ian Hume hit a great line and split the Cooke defence. The ball was shifted wide as the home side struggled to regroup and Cross was on hand to gallop over. Randalstown looked to have coughed up possession from the restart but fortune favoured them as the ball scooted out of a ruck. Ryan Bailey was alert to gather and he sprinted down the blind side from his own 10 metre line to stretch the lead.

Another powerful run from Ian Hume led to the next try. Again sprinting from defence the diminutive flanker fed Bailey who in turn drew the last defender to put David Smith clear for the touch down. Cathcart converted on this occasion.

Just before half time Thom fielded a clearance on his own 10 meter line and breaking a couple of tackles he linked with the impressive Cross who sliced through the home defence before popping to Smith for his 2nd try. Cathcart again added the conversion.

The second half continued in the same vein with ‘Town on the charge. Smith revelling in his move to the back row charged through from halfway and put Crawford away with a deft off-load. Crawford in turn released McGlade and with a couple of neat side steps the winger went over for the final score which was converted by Cathcart.

The game went quiet for the next half hour as the big Cooke pack began to get a bit of control of the ball, slowing the ‘Town attacks, but without ever threatening the ‘Town 22. With ten minutes remaining Cross popped up in midfield and floated a perfect pass wide where McGlade and Crawford combined to make space and McGlade was able to cross for his second try of the afternoon. Right on the whistle Bailey hit the line at pace and powered through the Cooke defence on the half way line. Again Crawford was the final link putting McWhirter away for a deserved score. Skipper Sammy Hyndman capped the performance with what may well be the last competitive kick of the 2nds season curling home a difficult conversion.

This was a perfect example of the abilities of this young ‘Town side. Great conditions underfoot favoured their style of play and bodes well for next season. The entire back line ran and handled well with Crawford a constant threat from full back. McCullough and Cross in the pack impressed in their first appearance for the 2s but it was Ian Hume who gave the man of the match performance this afternoon as again he tackled all before him, but was also incredibly strong in attack, as at one stage it took 6 of the opposition to finally stop him in his tracks.

This leaves the 2nd XV with what should hopefully be a 3rd place finish in their first year in Section 5. They also had a decent run in the Forster Cup losing out to the experienced Ballymena 5ths (the eventual winners) in the semi-final. All in all a successful season and no doubt this side will feel they have the talent and ambition to make further progress next season.

Next Saturday the 2nds are due to finish the season with a game at home against Newry 2nds but at time of going to press this is not confirmed.

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