Randalstown 1st XV 6 Academy 1st XV 9
It was a dismal day with a lot of games falling victim to the weather conditions, and this encounter at Neillsbrook was in many ways also one. As the scoreline suggests there wasn’t much to get pulses racing as the ‘Town men didn’t manage too many forays into the opposition 22 throughout.
The home side were under early pressure and an early penalty opportunity for the visitors sailed just wide of the upright. Academy got further good field position when a kick downfield saw them come within metres of the ‘Town line. Randalstown’s defence held though and again the scrum was in the ascendancy, a positive feature of the game.
The hard work on the line done, ‘Town worked their way back towards half way and play remained in and around there for the following 15 minutes before another kickable penalty opportunity for Academy went begging.
As the half ticked on it was a story of missed penalty opportunities for both teams, but McGlade did convert a second chance to level the scores at half time.
Frustratingly the early part of the second half was more of the same until with about 15 minutes played Academy slotted over another penalty. Randalstown followed this with their best period of play. Gary Hume put in a thumping tackle on the Academy scrum half and a partial charge down let Wilson away. He came very close and ‘Town kept up the pressure eventually being rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts to level the scores. The Academy number 6 was dispatched to the bin for the infringement and there were a few calls for a penalty try but they had to be content with the 3 points.
More stern defence from Randalstown saw them work their way out of the bottom corner of the pitch and up towards the 10 metre line but Academy persisted and came away with yet another kickable penalty opportunity which just crept over.
‘Town’s best chance of the game came up the left flank but McWhirter just overran his man and the pass which could well have put him in for the try just went forward.
Randalstown remain in 4th place in Qualifying 2 with a couple of games in hand on those above them so there is room for advancement in the table. The defence and scrum were positives to take from today but the high penalty count and lack of penetration into opposition territory will no doubt be issues to work on in training this week.
Next Saturday the 1sts travel to Carrick, currently sitting top of the league with a comfortable cushion, so it will undoubtedly be a tough encounter.
Randalstown 2nds 14 Rainey OB 3rds 5
The seconds just about ran out winners at home to Rainey 3s, edging out their local rivals 14-5. Despite playing most of the game with a man advantage the home side played 2nd fiddle in terms of possession, and only a late try pulled them clear.
‘Town opened the scoring ten minutes in. From a line out on halfway the pack rumbled their way into the Rainey 22 before Kirkwood and Conceicao made good ground towards the line. With the visitors defence stretched ‘Town shipped the ball across the back line and scrum half Chris McGoldrick squeezed over to touch down. Murray added the extras.
‘Town continued to be thwarted by a pugnacious Rainey side and by some dubious refereeing decisions so it wasn’t a surprise when Rainey eventually scored 15 minutes into the second half.
With 5 minutes remaining the home side sealed the victory when Scott Mowbray crashed over after they had spurned a number of opportunities. Murray again converted.
Randalstown missed influential captain Sammy Hyndman though Matty Turner proved an able deputy on the day. Turner’s half back partner McGoldrick was the pick of the back line, while hooker Adam Watt put in a hard working shift before suffering a late injury. The ‘Town back row of Strange, Goodrich and Fullerton were also to the fore in difficult muddy conditions.
Next Saturday the 2nds are due to travel to Cavan.
The 3rds are at home to Malone 4ths and all support will be warmly welcomed for the last outing prior to Christmas.