Randalstown 2nd XV 21 Lisburn 2nd XV 17
Saturday afternoon saw the first really wet weather of this season but both sides endeavoured to play some open rugby. Randalstown had the better of the opening exchanges but despite this conceded first blood to the visitors with 10 minutes played. The Lisburn forwards were instrumental in gaining territory advantage which resulted in a converted try.
It wasn’t too long however until the seconds recovered their composure. The visitors identified that the ‘Town line was coming up quickly and flat and wisely tried to chip over the top. Conor Murray was waiting and equal to the high ball. He made good ground before Turner cleared the lines. The clearance didn’t quite find touch though and a missed tackle out on the wing handed advantage back to Lisburn. Trying to make reparation ‘Town gave away a scrum in the middle of the field. Lisburn fluffed the opportunity to gather and clear their lines as Ian Hume, like a good back row forward should, hassled the scrum half into making an error then pounced on the loose ball and barged over the line. Murray added the conversion to level the scores.
The game remained nip and tuck until Turner again put in a great clearance kick down the line. Orr and Mawhinney sped up in chase and the Lisburn winger found the combination a bit hot to handle. Mawhinney was able to gather and touch down in the corner. Murray slotted over the tricky conversion.
Shortly afterwards the visitors had another penalty opportunity which they failed to convert. ‘Town were playing well through the phases and retaining the ball at this stage and when the back line started to move full back Murray time his moment of entry perfectly as he gathered at pace and stormed in, adding the conversion and setting up a comfortable cushion.
As half time approached Lisburn converted a penalty to narrow that cushion to 21-10.
The visitors had a good start to the second half and luckily for ‘town they failed to convert yet another penalty opportunity. Murray put in a try saving tackle to ensure that the scoreboard wasn’t further troubled. There were a few anxious moments as he was injured in the process but he got back on his feet and carried on.
It was fully 25 minutes before Randalstown had any scoring opportunity, but the effort sailed just wide of the posts.
Neither team were getting very far but Lisburn stuck to their task and were eventually rewarded with a try out wide. The tricky conversion also sailed over and it was game on again.
As the clock wound down ‘Town upped their game considerably and were camped in the visitors 22. The price of errors though saw the visiting pack win a scrum and get a sizeable shove on to get them out of danger territory. The lineout worked well for the home side and they continued to try to run at Lisburn but the visiting defence held firm. It was in the end a narrow victory for the seconds but a good one nonetheless against a Lisburn side currently sitting 4th in the league. It should be a confidence boost for the young second XV as they have returned to winning ways in the last 2 weeks.
Manager Sloane was delighted to get the win and was impressed by the way Turner, who stepped up to the captain’s role in the absence of the injured Hyndman, and his half-back partner McGoldrick ran the game. Murray at full back had his best outing to date with a fine all round performance. The pack as a unit were solid and Ian Hume’s try was fair reward for his efforts in the back row all afternoon.
Next Saturday the seconds have a break before travelling to Donegal the following week started an 8 week run of fixtures without a break. A few injury niggles will hopefully have cleared up before the Donegal game.
Randalstown 3rd XV 45 Ballynahinch 6th XV 12
Meanwhile on the other pitch ‘Town 3rd XV were running riot against Ballynahinch. They took the field with a much changed side from their last game two weeks ago and were soon on the attack against the visitors.
Early scores from McGarry and McClenaghan gave the home side an early comfortable lead. With the advantage in the scrums Randalstown were able to dominate much of the play and further scores gave them a 25-0 lead. However complacency and some good play gave Ballynahinch the opportunity to grab a late first half try to leave the score 25-5 at halftime.
The second half saw the home side move the ball to the wings and with experienced outhalf Adie Johnston making a number of breaks it wasn’t long before the tries came. Good work by Harry White and Ash McClenaghan gave Fergal Connon the opportunity to score two well worked tries.
With Randalstown now comfortably ahead Ballynahinch came back into the game with a great score under the posts and only poor handling denied them a third.
The try of the match was viewed from the clubhouse as action continued on the 1sts pitch when Ryan McGarry, who hasn’t seen much action this season, gathered in midfield and sprinted in to seal a great win.
Next Saturday the 3rds entertain UUC 2nds at home while the 1st XV are back in action after a considerable lay off away to Malone 2nds in the conference section of Qualifying 2.
Pic Credit > Dave Pettard CLICK HERE