Energia Men’s Community Series Ulster Conference 1 10 October 2020
Scorers: Roberts(1*Try), Bratton(1*Try), McLean(1*Pen, 2*Conv)

Rainey Old Boys registered their first win in the Ulster Conference when they beat Malone 17-10 at Hatrick Park, running in  two tries in quick succession and holding on for a morale-boosting victory.

Conditions were much better than anticipated, giving the teams every opportunity to play some rugby. But, with a referee who constantly penalized both sides at the breakdown and for encroaching, it became a stop-start affair.  Rainey welcomed back John McCusker from hamstring trouble, but were without prop O'Hagan.  The pack, however, did well to more than hold their own against a physical Gibson Park eight.  With defences generally on top, Malone were held up after going to the corner with a penalty.  Rainey then had a good spell, with McLean going close from over forty yards.

 The opening score of the game had more than a touch of good fortune about it.  When Malone had a clearance charged down in their own half, they appeared to be in deep trouble, but the ball flew right into the arms of a Malone player who had a clear run along the touchline into the home 22'.  Rainey did well to get cover just in time, but their outstanding player, Brad Roberts was yellow carded and from the subsequent scrum Malone took a 7-0 lead.  Rainey replied with admirable spirit, but were guilty of some costly little errors.

Scott Mc Lean opened their account before Malone missed a good chance and, just on half-time, flanker Erasmus brought off a super tackle with unmarked Malone men queuing up on the outside with no defence in sight.

Rainey started the second period brightly, but coughed up another needless penalty when a player became isolated.  After establishing a great attacking position, they then made a mess of a scrum and a series of stoppages threatened to drain the life out of the game.

A forward pass ruined a promising Malone surge before the picture changed dramatically.  From a penalty to the visitors '22', McAuley took clean ball which enabled replacement scrum-half Quinn to dart through a gap at the back of a lineout and send Roberts over, McLean adding the points.  Hardly had the home support stopped cheering this fine effort when they had another brilliant try to savour.  John McCusker fielded the restart kick to set his colleagues on the front foot, with Roberts twice excelling as Malone were driven back.  When the ball was spun wide, Mc Lean came into the line at speed to send wing Ian Bratton away for a great try which McLean then converted.

With some ten minutes remaining, Rainey were, however, by no means home and hosed.  They continued to put in the tackles and stick to the pace, but missed touch with several clearances to encourage the opposition.

TEAM : S,McLean, M.O'Neill, D.McMurray, A.Brown, I.Bratton, M.Connolly, A.Donaghy, D.McPeake, B.Roberts, A.McSwiggan, J.McCusker, R.McCusker, A.Bratton, T.Erasmus, J.McAuley

Replacements : D.McElroy, L.Quinn, D.O'Neill, C.Smyth, A.Nicholl.