Randalstown Rugby II XV 26 v Carrickfergus Rugby III XV 3

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Randalstown 2s picked up another 2 league points with a solid performance at Neillsbrook running out 26 – 3 winners against Carrick 3s.

The opening 20 minutes didn’t give the home supporters much cheer as ‘town spent much of the time on the back foot while Carrick dominated. The visitor’s only reward for all their early pressure however was a solitary penalty.

Gradually the home side overcame their sluggish start, with skipper Adie Johnston kicking cleverly for position, giving ‘Town an opportunity to strike. Eventually on the half hour secure ball from a scrum on half-way saw scrum half Hume feed Willie Fleck coming off his wing, and he surged through the middle of the field. Stopped just inside the carrick 10m line Fleck popped the ball to Simon Moon who strolled over for a try. McGlade added the conversion.

Both sides missed penalty attempts before half time leaving the score at the interval 7-3 in favour of Randalstown.

‘Town started well in the second half with both forwards and backs getting on top of their opponents. Rab Fleck and Niall McGlade were always dangerous with the ball in hand, while in the pack David Millar, returning from injury was prominent in the loose, as they laid siege to the Carrick line. Millar, Ings and McConnon were all held up just short of the line, and it actually took ‘Town 20 minutes to trouble the scoreboard again.

It took powerful winger Willie Fleck to break the Carrick defence as he cut inside and broke a number of tackles before he too was stopped just short. The pack were on hand to secure the ball and Ben Hamilton picked up at the back of the ruck from where he was able to bulldoze his way over.

Shortly after from a scrum on half way Town were able to pressurise the Carrick scrum half who spilled the ball. Gary Hume was quick to scoop it up and sprint home while the visiting defence was in some disarray. McGlade again added the extras.

As the game petered out Carrick conceded a penalty inside the home 22 which Johnston took quickly. A long pass found Willie Fleck, who rampaged up the field past several Carrick tacklers, before being held up again just short of the line under the posts. A penalty try was awarded though as the ref deemed the tackle which stopped him dangerous. McGlade converted with what was to be the final kick of the game.

Manager Richardson retired to the bar for a welcome Guinness content with a good all round performance by his team. A number of players stood out, in particular McConnon, James Millar, Willie Fleck and Rab Fleck, also returning from a lengthy injury. Special mention must go to Gary Hume though as he moved from his back row berth to play scrum half for the first time and acquitted himself well, giving his usual whole hearted performance.

Next Saturday the 1st XV are due to travel to Ophir while the 2nds will entertain Malone at Neillsbrook.

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