BANBRIDGE 33 RAINEY 21
THIS Ulster League battle between the two teams setting the pace in Divisions 2A and 2B of the AIL ended in a bonus point win for the home side.
Rainey’s Mark O’Connor slotted over early penalties either side of Michael Cromie’s unconverted try for Banbridge. Lock Chris Allen then crossed for the home side, with Gregg Taylor’s conversion taking his team into a 12-6 lead.
Incisive running from full-back Robert Lamberton put Rainey right winger Andrew Campbell in for an unconverted try after 23 minutes but this was more than negated by two Taylor penalties, the second from all of 45metres.
O’Connor matched that effort off the tee in the 34th minute. But Bann took a 23-14 lead into the break thanks to Jonny Murphy’s try off a lineout move at the end of the half.
A sparkling threequarter move almost produced a fourth Bann try immediately after the interval, with John Porter being hauled down just short. With Rainey kept on the back foot, a deliberate knock-on saw O’Connor pick up a yellow card and Taylor added a third penalty.
With their numbers depleted, Rainey went further behind when Taylor intercepted on halfway and just held off three chasing defenders to touch down at the posts, leaving himself the easy conversion.
With both teams making full use of their benches and the wet conditions affecting the handling, the game stuttered into life only occasionally in the 34 minutes that remained.
Rainey had the final word, with First team debutant Jamie Burrows crossing for a last minute try which O’Connor bettered.