Randalstown Second XV travelled to their Portadown counterparts on Saturday afternoon to take on the promotion hopefuls missing captain Sammy Hyndman and suffered a 36-11 defeat.
Despite a bright start start from Randalstown the home side were able to make their way deep into ‘Town’s 22 and the home pack were able to use their weight advance to rumble over with a well controlled maul and the tricky conversion was added.
The visitors kept competing and were enjoying a good share of possession but Portadown gained a penalty opportunity which their reliable kicker slotted over to give them a 10-0 lead 20 minutes in.
From the restart ‘Town hit back as Mason firmly fended off the first home defender and spread the ball wide. Good hands and yards from White freed Murray on the wing and he raced in to narrow the deficit.
Turner had to adjourn for treatment to a cut above his eye and while ‘Town were reorganising themselves Portadown used the time well to exert pressure culminating in a further 2 quick tries before half time.
Randalstown had only the consolation of a well struck penalty by Murray to turn around 24-8 down.
The second half was as evenly matched in many ways and ‘Town were on the scoreboard early with another successful penalty. Portadown retaliated quickly with an unconverted try.
Again ‘Town came close as Kenny Pollin and Mason made an enterprising run up the middle, and again frustratingly the home defence did enough to force an error at the critical time. Shortly afterwards the Pollin brothers combined well in midfield and gained ground.
A resulting quickly taken penalty was passed out to Joel Mulholland and he barged through several defenders before being stopped short.
With the niggles knocks and injuries mounting ‘Town were up against it and Portadown had still fresh legs to bring on. They ran in out wide as for another converted try as Crawford and Mason had to retire from the fray after one too many bangs on the head and the visitors were down to 13 men as the clock ticked down.
As the weather took a turn for the worse the final whistle was a welcome relief.
Manager Sloane was naturally disappointed by the defeat but he felt that his boys had played very well and deserved credit for a fine effort.
The seconds have a break next Saturday before travelling to Donaghadee the following week.
The firsts are at home to Larne this weekend, preceded by the ‘Ladies Day’ prematch lunch.
Anyone wishing to attend the lunch should contact Adie Johnston as soon as possible to reserve their place.