Having gone all the way in the Forster Cup last season to be defeated at the final hurdle by Ballymena 5ths the seconds must now, by virtue of their promotion to Junior 3, compete in the Crawford Cup.
As they adjusted to life under floodlights a series of penalties saw the home side take an early lead and go 6-0 up with about 15 minutes on the clock. Despite ‘Town’s best efforts Ballymena were gaining advantage as the visitors were continually on the wrong end of penalty decisions.
As the clock ticked on towards the end of the half ‘Town were awarded a penalty and Turner kicked long to touch. From the lineout captain Hyndman shoved over in the corner to narrow the deficit to 6-5.
It was a tight affair and it took 20 minutes in the second half before ‘Town were able to penetrate the home defence. Daryl McGarry, a late substitute for the injured Orr, broke through out wide for a fine individual effort.
Ballymena weren’t done and hit back quickly with a converted try to retake the lead. ‘Town were let off with a further penalty opportunity which sailed wide but they continued to make inroads and when McWhirter came on he introduced a certain sparkle. Having gathered and chipped, the ball just failed to bounce kindly for him and a scoring opportunity went a begging. He was inspirational again shortly after though as a long punt and pacey follow up took him very close, and he managed to release Murray to jink in for a well deserved try which he duly converted. Final result Randalstown 2XV 17, Ballymena 3xv 12.
A few of the other games fell victim to the weather over the weekend so the seconds must now wait to see what the next round brings.
Manager Sloane was very pleased with the result and singled out Phil McLean in the pack for an outstanding performance.