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Leaders Rainey suffer shock heavy defeat to Hinch

JUNIOR LEAGUE, SECTION ONE

by RONNIE INGRAM

Rainey III lost their opening Junior 3 fixture of the season but bounced back with eight straight wins, including a 50-8 demolition of Belfast Harlequins in the Crawford Cup.

But on Saturday, they came up against the might of Ballynahinch V and were defeated 39-3. In their previous three outings, they had accumulated 199 points but it was not their day at Ballymacarn Park.

"We travelled full of confidence but the conditions were not to our liking," commented Rainey captain Colin Patterson.

"The pitch was in a terrible condition and it was the smallest we have played on for a long time. It didn't suit our style of open rugby while Hinch kept the ball tight in the heavy going.

"We had a penalty from Caolan Moran and were unfortunate to have influential centre Ciaran McNamee injured after only 15 minutes."

Rainey defended well for the first quarter hour but then constructive forward work allowed Hinch's Connor Philips to break off and score for Richard McKelvey to convert. He then added a penalty before Phil Orr picked up on the '22' and linked with Jonny Orr, Fraser Bowsie and Peter McKee, who allowed Andrew Kielty to cross in the corner to make it 15-3 at half-time.

Home captain Andy Glenn expected a harder game against the league leaders: "We took it to them from the start but there was too much talk back from our players so many unnecessary penalties were conceded.

"Our sixth's second row forwards Willie Carlisle and Johnny Turner were drafted in two hours before the start and they made their presences felt.

"Richard McKelvey controlled the game and Peter McKee was always in the thick of things."

Twelve minutes into the second period, Jonny Orr fed Bowsie for the third before McKee brilliantly held a McKelvey cross-kick and evade a couple of defenders to go under the posts for the next.

Three minutes later, Phillips cut through and Bowsie picked up the loose ball to send Carlisle in for another converted try. On the hour, McKee again showed his talents when he raced in at the corner after a Jonny Orr break had been carried on.

"It was a satisfying afternoon's work. Our results have not been the most convincing up to now but we have recently made a few alterations and the swopping of the out-half and centre positions between Richard McKelvey and Fraser Bowsie has made an enormous difference.

"We are on our way back and there is a long way to go in the competition," concluded Glenn.

Rainey head the table with 15 points from 10 games, while Queen's III are second with 11 from seven.

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