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Randalstown are leaving lasting impression on league

By Ronnie Ingram

Randalstown's second string have certainly made a big impact in their first season in Junior 4 and are still undefeated after eight games.

Their main rivals for the title, City of Derry III, who they still have to face twice, have only lost once, and that was by an unbelievable 69-0 scoreline at Carrickfergus III at the start of the season.

The confident Randalstown team ran out easy winners with an impressive six-try 39-8 victory over Ballyclare III at Doagh Road on Saturday.

Their young back line was in sparkling form in the opening exchanges but it was their excellent forwards who scored the first two tries.

Mark Strange, playing in his first season in junior rugby, was the first to cross the line after Conor Murray had kicked an early penalty.

Mark Payne set up the second when he linked with their Portuguese hooker Pedro Conceicao, who was lurking on the wing.

"We were really on top at this stage and when Chris Donnelly scored a converted try on the half-hour we appeared to be cruising with a scoreline of 22-0," commented captain Sammy Hyndman.

"Unfortunately we eased up and Ballyclare fought back gamely and were rewarded with a penalty." John Wasson was the kicker but the home team still trailed by 19 points at the interval.

Ballyclare started the second half as they finished the first with their forwards continuing to keep the upper hand and the pressure led to Jonathan Birkmyre rumbling over for an unconverted try.

A few chosen words and Hyndman rallied his side and once again they regained the initiative to run in three more tries.

Matt Mawhinney, another player fresh out of school, chipped ahead and gathered to run in. Murray then finished off a textbook back move off a scrum before Mawhinney danced in for his second through a tiring Ballyclare defence. Murray ended the game with a total of three conversions to his name.

Hyndman was relieved with the comeback after the earlier lose of concentration.

"I don't think we played to the best of our ability but hopefully a steady run of games over the coming weeks will see us reach our peak," he said.

Other Section 4 results: Coleraine III 15 Ballymena IV 14, Donaghadee II 19 Ards III 5

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