Randalstown Rugby Club Notes: I XV 29 v Cavan Rugby Club I XV 12 & III XV 10 v Ballymena Rugby Club V XV 48

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Randalstown 1st XV 29 Cavan 1st XV 12

It was a fairly changed ‘Town side that took to the field on Saturday in terms of personnel and position so it was to their credit that they dispatched the Cavan outfit to notch up another league victory.

Randalstown had a dream start when the kick off was mis-managed by Cavan and quick ball from the resulting scrum saw Laverty feed Wilson who set off at pace to run in the first try. John O’Kane added the extras.

Unfortunately ‘Town then lost young centre Daryl McGarry with a nasty cut to the head and were reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the match.

The one man disadvantage didn’t phase ‘Town however as they ran in 2 further tries courtesy of Goodrich and Ryan McGarry to stretch the lead to 19 – 0 before the half hour mark.

At the start of the second half Wilson crossed the line again but the try was disallowed.
Cavan were beginning to come back a bit at the home team and were able to disrupt play and put enough pressure on to record a try for their useful looking scrum half.

The game continued to be a fairly scrappy affair until Laverty, who acquitted himself very well in the unaccustomed role of out half, turned over Cavan possession and pushed a long ball towards the corner. McWhirter was quickly up to gather and was well supported by Hume and O’Kane who scrambled over the line.

Several chances went begging for Randalstown including one that came out of nothing for Ryan McGarry when he cut loose and hacked through a long ball towards the opposition line. Although he won the foot race he just couldn’t get the required downward pressure on the ball.

Full back Jamieson then made the most of his opportunity when he broke up the middle of the park and with a neat side step plundered over the line.

With the ref almost about to blow the whistle Cavan got in for a deserved try to leave the final score 29 – 12 in favour of Randalstown.

Again this was a good team effort from Randalstown even if it was a scrappy affair at times. Laverty and McWhirter should be commended on their performances in unaccustomed positions, and coach Stevenson will be pleased with the outcome of the positional juggling.

As ever there were several contenders for man of the match, with O’Kane and James Millar catching the eye around the park all afternoon, big D Millar and Mark Allen steadying the ship that is the ‘Town pack, and Gary Hume harassing the opposition at every turn but the nod must go to Dan Wilson on this occasion.

Team: D Jamieson R McGarry D McGarry D Goodrich P McWhirter P Laverty J O’Kane K Pollin B Hamilton D Millar J Millar M Allen G Hume R Fleck D Wilson.

Next Saturday both the first and second XV travel to Newry in their respective leagues while the 3rds will travel to Academy.

Randalstown 3rd XV 10 Ballymena 5ths 48

Randalstown 3rds entertained near neighbours Ballymena at Neillsbrook and gifted them 2 points as they went down 48 – 10. The damage was done in the first half as the visitors scored 4 tries and a penalty without reply. It was one way traffic the entire half and it only took Ballymena 10 minutes to open their account with a converted try. A penalty followed shortly after to increase the lead. As the half hour mark approached the visitors drove off a lineout for another try and the home side started to implode. Going down to 13 men after Phil McLean had to retire with a head injury and veteran Tommy McCann taking a ten minute breather at the request of the referee it was starting to look as though the writing was well and truly on the wall as 2 more converted tries were added to the visitors tally.

Thankfully the 2nd half was a totally different game as ‘Town took the game to their opponents and didn’t give them the same opportunities to control the game.

Moving full back McGarry to outhalf gave ‘Town a more adventurous look as they attempted to run the ball. The pack were providing some useful ball and scrum half Cathcart was able to release the pacy McGarry who attempted to spread the ball as much as possible.

McCann, Devlin, McConnon and McClenaghan were notable as they rocked Ballymena back on their heels and with just under 10 minutes of the half gone ‘hobo’ McClenaghan got just reward as he crashed over the line for an unconverted score.

Having done all the hard work ‘town then eased up and lost concentration so that the visitors were able to immediately reply with a score of their own. This focused the ‘Town side and they were able to exert a good spell of pressure on Ballymena resulting in a penalty inside the 22. Quick thinking from Cathcart saw him put in a kick towards the wing where Ian Harrison was waiting, and showing some nifty footwork to stay in the field of play Harrison drew the last line of defence before popping to the marauding McClenaghan who barged over for a 2nd try.

Unfortunately the home side were unable to trouble the score board further despite having the bulk of the play in the closing stages and rather they allowed the opposition in for a further 2 tries to leave the final score 48 – 10.

A real game of two halves from the ‘Town men who were always on the back foot in the opening period, contrasting with a spirited attacking display in the 2nd half. Manager McCann picked out McConnon, back to his rampaging best after a short injury lay off, and scrum half Benji Cathcart as the pick of the side, but mentions must also go to Andrew Sloane, Michael Savage and Tom McMaster who all punched well above their weight going up against a decidedly more experienced Ballymena pack.

Team: B McGarry I Harrison T McMaster S Moon M Mulholland B Cathcart A Service T McCann A McClenaghan J Pedlow F McConnon T Devlin A Sloane M Savage P McLean.

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