Annual tournament heralds new season for Randalstown Rugby Club

Randalstown RFC Head Coach Gary Longwell oversees training last week at Neillsbrook Playing Fields. INAT 35-371CS
Randalstown RFC Head Coach Gary Longwell oversees training last week at Neillsbrook Playing Fields. INAT 35-371CS

After a successful - and hectic - White Collar Boxing Night, Randalstown Rugby Committee have had to draw a quick breath and begin to prepare for the club’s season opening 15-a-side tournament.

Larne return to defend their title and as usual bar and BBQ facilities will be available. Hopefully the weather gods will be kind on Saturday afternoon as we are entertained on the pitch and renew many old acquaintances off it.

Last season saw the club continue to progress, the first XV finishing a credible 3rd in Qualifying 2 despite enduring another nightmare run of injuries which hampered their chances of playing with a settled side all season.

Training continues Tuesday and Thursday at 7 pm at the club and members are encouraged to make the time to attend thus maximising the chances of success for the red and whites in 2014-15.

The coaching team of Gary Longwell and Alistair Strange, in their first season, produced a team which played an open entertaining game even on occasions when the prevailing weather conditions would have dictated otherwise. This partnership will continue in 2014-15.

The front row area, which squeaked a little throughout 2013-14, will be strengthened by the return to the fold of Scott Stevenson and return from injury of Neil Foster and Chris Allen.

The club are also delighted to see Paul Laverty return from his sabbatical in Australia and the flair of Daniel McGlade returning from University will be a welcome addition to the backline. Daniel Morgan from UUC has nailed his colours to the Neillsbrook mast.

A few new faces from Antrim Grammar have ben added to the mix in the meantime and hopefully those who decide to continue their studies in Northern Ireland will be available for selection come September.

The club are delighted to welcome returning and new members and most importantly the new faces provided by the continuing success of the youth section.

This season’s aims are for the 1st XV to maintain their position in the top half of Qualifying 2, while developing the young players in a league which should be notably more competitive as many rivals are recruiting strongly.

The 2nd XV, stepping up a division to Junior 4, will look to establish themselves in the top half of this section under captain Sammy Hyndman while the 3rd XV hope to continue their improving performances, again in a tough league, which this year will include local rivals Antrim for the first time in a good few seasons.

Note of thanks: The White Collar Boxing Night was a great success and again the club is indebted to the many sponsors who helped make the night such a success. Members and associates are asked to support the sponsors at any opportunity.

The club are proud to be associated with Stevenson & Reid who have been great supporters over the last number of seasons, and this year the tournament will be sponsored by ‘Studio Bathrooms’ at Stevenson & Reid.