Randalstown Rugby Club First XV enjoyed a morale-boosting 28-16 win over Larne in Saturday’s Qualifying League fixture at Neillsbrook.
The final pre-match lunch of the season preceeded events, and as has become traditional, it was ladies day. Randalstown also welcomed guests from Larne, and the Antrim & Newtownabbey Council Mayor Mr Thomas Hogg.
Randalstown have still a couple of games to play and remain firmly in 4th place in Qualifying 2 , although they could potentially overtake 3rd placed Enniskillen who they are due to play next Saturday in a rearranged game.
On Saturday after the home side were slower off the mark and Larne took the lead with an early penalty.
‘Town came back with captain Liam Hurrell getting good forward ball off the back of a scrum on the Larne 22. When the ball was moved swiftly along the line it was Hurrell who was back on the end of it to run in and touch down.
Larne however were back in front in a matter of minutes when some slack tackling let them over the line. Conor Murray equalised with a penalty after some good work by Dan McGlade and Craig Barclay. The visitors added a further penalty before half time to turn around 11-8 up.
Another Murray penalty on 50 minutes levelled the scores again after a good run by Dan McGlade was halted by a high tackle.
With almost half an hour of the second half played, during which Larne had kept ‘town under considerable pressure, often deep in their own half, the home side disrupted possession on half way and Matty Mawhinney reacted quickest, kicked through gathered and sprinted in under the posts for a well deserved try. Murray added the extras.
A good scrum from Randalstown a few minutes later produced good possession and Michael Smith took a lovely step inside to split the visiting defence. Jamie Orr was on his shoulder to take the pass and he sauntered home for a try.
David Smith had moved into number 8 by this stage and from another scrum he picked up well and flipped the ball to McGoldrick who put Dan McGlade away. McGlade made it up into the Larne 22 and the recycled ball was whipped across the line where Orr was waiting to dart over for his second try of the afternoon.
Larne kept plugging away to their credit although it looked as though ‘Town had done enough, and in the dying minutes they went over for a final try to leave the final score 28-16.