Belfast Harlequins II XV 48 v Randlastown I XV 8
Randalstown 1sts travelled to Deramore on Saturday afternoon to face Quins 2nds in the conference section of the qualifying league. The final score probably flattered Harlequins slightly as Randalstown had good periods of possession throughout the game, but a combination of errors meant they were just unable to convert territory and possession into points on this occasion.
‘Town’s points came from a Peter McCann penalty early in the first half and an opportunistic try by Ryan McGarry half way through the 2nd period. Harris pounced on a loose ball and used all his footballing skills to put the ball behind the Quins defence. McGarry set off in pursuit and showed his pace to outstrip his number on the wing and touch down in the corner.
Grosvenor III XV 30 Randalstown III XV 31
The thirds turned in yet another fine team performance to defeat Grosvenor 31 – 30 in an entertaining game played at the Civil Service facilties. This win for Tommy McCann’s men showed how much they have improved of late as they suffered a heavy defeat to the same opponents back at the start of the season.
Bolstered by under 19 players Matty Turner at outhalf and flanker David Smyth Town started with a bang swarming all over their opponents and after some controlled phases of play found themselves on the Grosvenor line. Hamilton, McClenaghan, McConnon and Sloane all had attempts to cross the line before Service had the simple job of touching down as the ball squirted out of a pile up. The scrum half added the difficult conversion.
Grosvenor then hit back with 2 tries of their own in the next 10 minutes. The game was truly end to end with Randalstown gaining good territory but giving away too many penalties to get fully on top. Savage and young Smyth were having a great afternoon, particularly in attack, while Hamilton McConnon and McClenaghan did the hard work in defence continually ripping ball from their opponents.
McConnon got just reward as ‘Town were driving hard up the middle of the park and he exploded off the base of a ruck, splintered the home defence and scored beside the posts. Service obliged with the extras.
Grosvenor then capitalised on ‘Town indiscipline and crashed over from a short penalty before Service levelled with his own penalty attempt to even the scores as half time approached.
The second half started well for Grosvenor as they utilised a dominant line-out and strong maul to score a further converted try. Randalstown regrouped well with a good line out of their own courtesy of Savage and the ball was whipped out by substitute Peter McWhirter to Turner who was able to kick ‘Town into the Grosvenor half. A great chase by Darryl McGarry broke the Grosvenor defensive line and the centre released Smyth to run in unopposed. Service again converted to level the scores.
Shortly after another searing break by McGarry from halfway was stopped just short of the line. McClenaghan broke from the resulting scrum and was able to stretch over the line. Service kept up his 100% record on the day.
Some dogged defence and ferocious tackling from Town ensured that Grosvenor were held out for the remainder of the game, although they did manage to convert two further penalty attempts and narrowly missed a drop goal which handed Randalstown the narrowest of victories.
The under 19s drafted in to service all impressed, with Turner and McGarry in particular producing promising performances. In the pack Reeves continues to improve and put in a hard working shift in the front row while Savage had an excellent game in the 2nd row, which could prove to be his best position.
Team: Morriss Duncan Mulholland Moon Harrison Turner Service Reeves Sloane Hamilton McConnon Savage Asquith Smyth McClenaghan (Subs McWhirter McGarry)
Next week the firsts and thirds both face Larne opposition. The junior section have the pleasure of entertaining a team from Hawick and they will play prior to the senior games, so a full afternoon of entertainment is on the cards at Neillsbrook. As always your support will be warmly welcomed.