REPORT Randalstown RFC II XV 69 v Ards RFC III XV 0

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Ards 3rd XV 0 Randalstown 2nd XV 69
As at Carrickfergus, the conditions in Ards were always going to be the dominant factor and the team who adapted best were always going to emerge triumphant in this encounter. ‘Town chasing an eleventh win from 11 approached the match in confident form, and on paper should have run out winners, which they thankfully did.
Starting with a bang ‘Town were quickly up into the home territory with a fine break from Captain Hyndman and were rewarded by an early penalty. It sailed just wide however and they quickly realised that it was going to be a difficult day for kicking. As they regrouped the ball went sensibly through the hands and Donnelly and Orr did very well to retain possession midfield before Donnelly popped to McGarry on the wing allowing him to speed in for the first of his hat-trick on the afternoon.
Murray added the conversion. Amazingly he went on to add 6 more conversions from the 11 tries scored on an afternoon where kicking was always going to be a bit of a lottery.
Further tries following in quick succession from Jamie Orr and again McGarry and Andy White, who made a solid return from injury. Orr added his second with a fine individual effort as he hacked through and then put just the right weight on a couple more kicks before touching down unhindered under the posts.
With half time looming Ards started to string some possession together as ‘Town conspired among themselves to become disorganised and suffer a little bit of whitewash fever. A few stern words from captain Hyndman however refocused the effort . Hooker Concaieo gathered loose ball on the touch line and was able to slip around the Ards defender and make a few yards. Supported by Hamilton they reset well and allowed the backline to scamper away with the ball. Orr and Donnelly combined again to retain possession and Donnelly put McGarry away for his hat-trick.
At half time Cathcart, sporting a lovely new pair of pristine white ‘short’ (Santa?) shorts, entered the fray along with Vernon Thom as McGoldrick and McGarry took a rest.
The opening quarter of the second half did not warm the cockles of any Randalstown heart as it mainly featured the referee’s whistle and conceded penalties. Eventually Murray broke the deadlock and sprinted in for his first of the afternoon, to which he added the extras.
Try of the match came next when that man Murray made an interception around half way and raced in under the posts.
Next up on the scoresheet was veteran Thom and he crossed out wide to take the tally to 57-0.
Andy White ran in what looked to be the final try of the afternoon under the posts as two and a half minutes remained on the clock. Ards showed no inclination for the referee to put them out of their misery at this stage however so it was back for a restart. Still it looked as though the scoring was done for the afternoon as ‘Town again conceded penalties at close quarters allowing Ards to clear their lines. How wrong can you be? Flanker Strange pounced on a loose ball, hacked on and had the pace to follow up and charge over for the touchdown.
This was a fine win for the second fifteen and there were some very pleasing aspects to it. Young hooker Concaeio improves with every outing and shows a fine turn of pace in short bursts. Murray has a cool cool head on young shoulders, coupled with pace, kicking and defensive ability which is pleasing to note. As in previous weeks it was a team effort above all else with captain Hyndman marshalling his forwards well and Matty Turner controlling effectively at out half.
I am going to sum it all up by stealing the remarks from an old expat ‘town man who happened to be in the area yesterday – ‘It gladdened my heart to watch the 2nds in action at Ards today. First sight of ‘town rugby I have seen in over 5 years (where does time go?) – some great players! Big ginger number 8, nippy 14, some fantastic ball runners, strong pack, and flyin’ Ryan still going strong!!’ A fair summation indeed and while the big ginger number 8 from a few years ago was easily identified we are still searching for the nippy 14!

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