Provincial 1 29th February 2020
Scorers: McIntosh(1*Try), Friel(1*Try), N.Hastings(1*Try), Doherty(1*Try), Millar(1*Try), G.Hall(1*Try), Evans(6*Conv)



In an echo of their last league outing, Rainey II started away from home, playing into the teeth of Storm Jorge as they took on Belfast Harlequins II at Deramore.  With a biting gale blowing straight across the pitch making it a day for the short-range game, they scored three converted tries either side of the half to clinch another bonus-point win.  


As the elements deteriorated with every passing minute, the referee opted to start the game 5mins early, with the result that supporters arriving on time missed Rainey’s opening score, Prop McIntosh barging over between the posts from short range.  Out-half Evans, who had a superlative day with the boot, duly knocked over the first of his six conversions despite the conditions.


Further intelligent use of the boot by Rainey soon had Harlequins defending ferociously in their 22’ once more.  They fought for every inch conceded, but slowly and methodically, Rainey went through the phases, their big forwards surging left and right of the posts, inching towards the line.  Doherty and McIntosh both came close, and Brown stretched the defence, but in the end it was winger Friel who spotted the opening and sprinted over unopposed.


From the restart, Harlequins, recognising the effectiveness of keeping it tight, began their own long march into Rainey territory.  Despite struggling on their own ball in the scrums, their No8 did well to continually get the ball away despite the attention of Quinn at scrum-half, and they eventually made it into the Rainey 22’ for the first time.  Fortunately, Rainey’s defence withheld and they pilfered a turnover.  McErlain carried well, and despite some sloppy passing, the ball made its way to right-winger Mulholland inside the Rainey 22’.  He made good yardage, before play was taken on by Millar, who slipped the ball inside to fellow backrow B.Hall.  With a 40m dash to score, he was hauled down just short, but N.Hastings was on hand at the ruck to dive over for the try.


Rainey started the second-half strongly, once more patiently working their way downfield and camping on the Harlequins line.  It was no surprise therefore, when Doherty staged a pick-and-go to force his way over for Rainey’s fourth try and secured the bonus point.  ‘Quins then enjoyed a long period of dominance in the Rainey half, but to no avail, and, as the Magherafelt men exerted the pressure once more, driving for the home tryline, No8 Bresland popped a lovely inside pass to the oncoming Millar, who dived through to add a fifth.


Harlequins had another good spell, pinning Rainey back into their 22’, but a great steal by the forwards allowed Evans to clear the ball to halfway in the middle of the park. As the ‘Quins defender attempted to field the ball, centre G.Hall was first on the scene and cleverly chipped ahead to outpace the home defence and score under the posts.  With 60mins played, and the weather worsening, the home captain signalled to the ref they had had enough and he sounded the final whistle.  Next week, Rainey face a long trip to Mountview Rd for a top-of-the-table clash with Ballynahinch III, in what promises to be a spicy encounter.


Team:  J.McIntosh, M.Nevin, A.Nevin, A.Doherty, N.Hastings, C.Smyth, M.Millar, J.Bresland, L.Quinn, H.Evans, M.Friel, G.Hall, A.Brown, M.Mulholland, J.Hastings
Replacements: B.Hall, D.McErlain, R.Kearns