Randalstown Rugby CLub First XV recorded a 24-6 win over Grosvenor in Saturday’s Qualifying Two encounter at Neillsbrook.
The match was preceded by lunch in the clubhouse and Randalstown were pleased to welcome some of our sponsors together with guests from Grosvenor RFC.
Club President Derek Waddell welcomed the guests and thanked the sponsors for their ongoing support.
It was his sad duty to pass on condolences from all at Randalstown to our Chairman Dr Adrian Johnston, following the death of his father Mr Ian Johnston during the week after a short illness.
Representatives of Power NI, Indicators International, Antrim Credit Union and Bank of Ireland were present. Damien Martin from Assure Services was along to view his advertising board outside the clubhouse.
It was a cold but mainly dry afternoon as the match got underway.
Randalstown, traditionally slow starters, were very slow to start on this occasion, the lack of competitive action in recent weeks perhaps contributing to a bit of rustiness.
Early on the chance of first blood fell to the visitors but the kick sailed wide and ‘Town went unpunished.
Grosvenor however retained good field position and kept the home side pinned in their own 22, where a further penalty in a very kickable position was conceded, and on this occasion converted.
Grosvenor squandered a further penalty opportunity before ‘Town eventually won one of their own and cleared to half way for their first foray into anything close to enemy territory.
Still ‘Town were struggling to string together any attacking phases and with half an hour on the clock Grosvenor converted yet another penalty to take a 6-0 lead.
As they moved into the closing stages of the half things improved, and ‘Town began to gain some advantage, particularly up front in the set piece.
At the start of the second half ‘Town had to reshuffle slightly and David Millar slotted into the front row as McBrien had to retire.
Emmet Crawford also entered the fray as Coby Mason suffered a dead leg.
They settled well and began to make serious inroads into the visiting defence and after a series of scrums at close quarters, putting Grosvenor under a lot of pressure, a penalty try was awarded.
McGlade added the conversion and the lead changed hands.
Shortly afterwards brother Niall crossed out wide to increase the lead, and from the restart he was on hand to gather a clearance kick and pass to Donnelly who took the ball at speed and raced in for a converted try.
Randalstown were starting to play to their full potential and good interplay between the backs and forwards saw the ball being moved well to Donnelly, again at pace and he scampered in for his brace.
Randalstown III 52, Banbridge IV 15: The thirds continued their recent good form with a convincing win over Banbridge, also at Neillsbrook on Saturday afternoon.
Skipper Ash McClenaghan got the first score after good work by Conor Ferry.
Johnny Fullerton followed up with a fine intercept to add number 2.
A couple of penalties kept the scoreboard ticking over before Blayne McGarry sliced through the visitor’s defence to score under the posts.
Good work from Daryl McGarry and Fullerton sent Ryan McGarry away for his first score just as the half time whistle went to leave ‘Town 28-3 up at the turning point.
The elder McGarry added the first try of the second half with a fine solo effort.
It was only a matter of time before the third McGarry powered over after a scrum on the Banbridge 10 metre line.
Despite being down to 13 men Banbridge hit back with a converted try before Daryl McGarry took his tally to 2 following good work by Kyle Kirkwood.
The visitors continued to battle on and were able to add a further score before Ryan McGarry grabbed his hat-trick and Town’s 8th try to seal a comfortable win.
The seconds are in action midweek in the Crawford cup as they take on Ballymena 3rds at Eaton Park on Wednesday night, kick off 7.45 pm.
In other club news, well known Ulster rugby referee Mark Hermin has been appointed as Randalstown’s new Club and Comunity rugby officer.
Mark plans to involve all local primary and post primary schools in developing the sport as part of the school curriculum.
He plans to give as many young people both male and female the opportunity to experience the game.
Mark hopes that by raising the profile of the game in schools he will be able to recruit new players for the Club who have recently began a ladies’ rugby section.