Youth Shine on Saturday for Randalstown

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Randalstown 1sts’ fine start to the season came to an abrupt end on Saturday as they were well beaten by an impressive Larne XV in the Gordon West cup. With the 3rd XV also suffering a drubbing at Neillsbrook it was left to the Junior section to provide some sunshine on a gloomy Saturday.

In another successful weekend for Randalstown’s Youth sides, the U17s won 60 – 0 at home against Rainey, the U15s recorded a 52-0 win over Rainey away, while the U13s maintained the winning habit by defeating the same opponents 14-12. The U19s were inactive as Ballymena were unable to travel.

Larne 1st XV 63 Randalstown 1st XV 0 (Gordon West)

The 1st XV travelled to Larne for their final Gordon West group game safe in the knowledge that they had already qualified for the knock-out stages, but were aiming to top the group. Coach Mike Stevenson however was severely hampered by the unavailability of a number of players, and although their replacements battled manfully the problem of making wholesale changes, particularly in the pack, was reflected in the heavy defeat.

Randalstown actually started brightly and for five minutes looked like making a game of it, but the home side gradually got on top, and on the quarter hour claimed their first points with a penalty. Minutes later a further 3 points were added before the first try with 23 minutes played.

Larne continued to impress with forwards and backs linking well, and only over-elaboration at times in the ‘town 22 prevented more tries. They did however manage another 2 late in the first half to take a lead at the interval of 25 – 0.

The 2nd half was one way traffic with Randalstown never entering the home 22 and Larne running in a further 6 tries. To their credit ‘Town tackled furiously but were just over-run by a well drilled and disciplined side. With attacking options almost non-existant it was the tremendous defensive work of John O’Kane, Paul Laverty and Gary Hume which stood out. James Millar also showed promise in his first game at this level despite playing out of position at number 8.

Coach Stevenson and captain Foster have to hope that this is only a blip in the season, and with players returning the performance will improve and return to previous standards.

Team: C Coulter W Fleck W Montgomery P Laverty R McGarry A Boyd J O’Kane J Kennedy S Finlay N Foster (Capt) M Allen D Harris A Fleck G Hume J Millar.

Randalstown 3rd XV 0 Queens 4th XV 63

Back at Neillsbrook the 3rd XV were similarly on the wrong end of an absolute rout by Queens 4ths. With barely 5 minutes on the clock the visitors had crossed the whitewash and added the extras with a difficult conversion out wide.

From the resulting kick off Queens kept the pressure on and only some heroic defence by prop Pedlow and captain Hamilton kept them out for a further 10 minutes before they barged over for the 2nd score.

Randalstown encouraged by manager McCann then enjoyed a decent passage of play which they couldn’t capitalise on and were turned over in the lineout leading to a further try by the visitors. After another exchange of penalties the visitors were in again to stretch their lead to 24 – 0 with about 25 minutes on the clock.

Randalstown kept trying to play some decent rugby and just missed a penalty opportunity as it shaved the left upright. They retained the ball however, and veteran Devlin, well supported by novice McConnan, who improves week on week, was unlucky not to have a try awarded. Somewhat disappointed by the failure of the ref to spot the touchdown, ‘Town allowed Queens to run in a further try just before the interval.

McCann was forced to introduce subs at half time with injuries to Reeves Rodgers and Devlin so Loughlin, Young and Maguire entered the fray. This added experience saw ‘town win a bit of the ball and they were within spitting distance of the line when they were turned over and Queens scored a fine breakaway try.

Two further tries from the visitors stretched the lead to 46 – 0 then Randalstown had probably their best 15 minutes of the game when they were unlucky not to trouble the scoreboard. Unfortunately there was nothing left in the tank and Queens crossed for 3 more tries to run out deserved winners.

Randalstown U17’s record third league victory

Randalstown welcomed Rainey RFC to Neilsbrook on Saturday morning and recorded another impressive victory in winning 60-0. The first half was all Randalstown at the end of which they led 36-0.

Tries came from Nathan Storer, Brian Mulholland, Joseph Cross, Shane McBurney, Grant Taylor and Killian McGlade. The pick of the tries was McGlade’s who finished off a text book pick up from No 8 McBurney who fed Mulholland and then the ball was popped to McGlade to score. Mulholland was successful with 3 conversions.

In the second half Rainey showed a little more resistance for the first 10 minutes and the scoreboard remained stationary. However when Man of the Match Jamie Barron won possession on the opposition “22” he chipped the Rainey back line and Storer rounded the defence to pick up and score in the corner.

The Randalstown pack then moved up a gear and when McBurney broke in the loose he fed Barron who ran under the posts to score converted try. Rainey then got back into Randalstown’s half with a good clearance kick from their “22” but Shane Crossan fielded the high ball and set off on run the length of the pitch to score an unconverted try. The final score of the match was from Brian Gourley.

RANDALSTOWN U17 SQUAD. Sean Mackey , Gareth Pollin , James Clyde, Shane Crossan, John Carson, Shane McBurney (Capt), Joseph Cross, Stephen Irvine, Jamie Barron ,Brian Mulholland, Bryan Gourley, Grant Taylor, Nathan Storer, Jamie Mairs, Killian McGlade ,Aaron Cordner, Kyle McCabe

The U13, U15 and U17s have no games this weekend due to the Halloween break while the U19s hope to get back into action after two weeks off with a trip to Rainey OB.

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