Randalstown Third XV were the only one of the Neillsbrook club’s sides in action in a reduced schedule of competitive games at te weekend.
Randalstown welcomed Cookstown for what turned out to be a entertaining game played in front of a large crowd but there was no happy ending as the home side went down by 26 points to 14.
The early advantage was to the visitors who laid siege on the Randalstown line but good defensive work from the home side kept them at bay.
As the game progressed Randalstown began to exert pressure on the visitors, and only poor handing and a bit of bad luck stopped them from scoring.
After twenty minutes poor defence from Randalstown allowed the visitors to score a converted try, however the home side were quick to reply with a well worked try from Gary Paine who crashed over under the posts allowing Adie Johston to add the points to make the score at half time 7-7.
The second half was interrupted by a number of injuries to players on both sides making it difficult for either side to gain supremacy.
After 15minutes of the second half an interception on the Randalstown line by the experienced Adie Johnston saw him then run the length of the pitch leaving the Cookstown team unable to catch him. This converted try gave the home side a 14-7 lead.
Poor tackling again allowed Cookstown to level the scores and with injuries to Smith and Ferry, Randalstown were forced to spend long periods in defence.
During one of the Cookstown attacks on the Randalstown line the referee awarded a 5 metre scrum.
Bizarrely as s the home players moved to form the scrum he changed his decision and awarded a try to the visitors.
This decision seemed to cause Randalstown to lose concentration and despite their best efforts it was Cookstown who scored the final try of the afternoon to give them a 26-14 victory.
Team coach Aaron Murray while full of praise for the efforts of his team was disappointed by a refereeing decision that he felt cost his team the game.
This Saturday only the second XV are in action when they travel to Dungannon.
An early kick off at 1 pm has been organised, as of course Saturday afternoon sees the conclusion of the rugby world cup.
The final will be shown on the big screen in the clubhouse and everyone is welcome as the All Blacks take on near neighbours Australia in the final showdown.