Friendly 4th October 2017

Scorers: Friel(1*Try), McCann(1*Try), Lloyd-Evans(1*Try, 3*Conv)


In horrendous weather conditions, Rainey and Coleraine U20s fought out a hard-earned 21-21 draw under the floodlights at Hatrick Park. With the exuberance of youth, they tried to play open, running rugby as the rain poured down, and many of the old stagers on the sideline could be heard to mutter about the benefits of "10-man rugby".


Kicking off with the wind and rain to their backs, Coleraine were soon under pressure from a Rainey attack, and after solid work by the forwards, Brown ran a great line to open up the defence for Friel to score Rainey's opener out wide. Lloyd-Evans landed a great touchline conversion.


Shortly after the restart, a silly Rainey mispass proved costly, allowing the visitors to hack through and score a converted try. Undaunted, Rainey were soon back in the Coleraine half, but with the game see-sawing, Coleraine's second try was a replica of the first, as confusion in the Rainey defence allowed them to once more gain a turnover and charge downfield for another converted try.


Again Rainey pressed forward in attack, but were guilty a few times of being overambitious and the chances went begging. In contrast, Coleraine took any chance they were offered, and when a clearance kick from their 22' was misfielded, they were on it like a flash, once more going the length of the pitch to score.


Some hard-talking at half-time had the desired effect as the Rainey men started the second-half the way they should have played in the first. Great carries by the forwards, especially McSwiggan, were well recycled as they forced their way downfield. A rare Coleraine mistake at a lineout allowed scrum-half Lloyd-Evans to burst through with the ball at his feet, and score to the left of the posts, before adding the conversion.


Rainey were back in the hunt, and repeating the tactics which had served them well, they once again worked their way downfield, before prop McCann battered his way over the line. Lloyd-Evans added the extras and the sides were all square with 15 mins to go.


And what an emotional roller-coaster those last 15 mins were to be for supporters who had braved the deluge. Rainey out-half Hall narrowly missed a 30m drop goal. Fullback Quinn had a similar attempt charged down and Rainey had to scramble to prevent an opportunistic Coleraine try. Coleraine sent a match-winning penalty just wide, then had to mount a frenzied defence of their own line to keep Rainey at bay. When the referee finally blew for time, even the supporters were exhausted. In the conditions, credit must go to both teams for serving up such an entertaining spectacle, with a draw being a fair result for both their efforts.


TEAM:  J.McIntosh, M. Gordon, C.Smyth, C.McCann, A.McSwiggan, M.Mulholland, M.Miller, C.Lawrence, R.Doherty, N.Hastings, T.McNicholl, J.Lloyd Evans, G.Hall, M.Freil, A.Brown, A.Walker, R.Murray, L.Quinn(Captain), M.Mulholland