Tuesday 24 October 2017 03:09:50 AM

Ballynahinch Firsts Have Scrappy But Happy Win Over Rainey
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 Ulster Senior League

Rainey OB 1’s  7  Ballynahinch 1’s  22

James Shaw reports from Hatrick Park.

A wet, cold and windy Hatrick Park awaited a diminished Ballynahinch RFC 1st XV for their Ulster Senior League clash against the All Ireland Division 2B League Leaders.

Rainey started the stronger with the home advantage clearly making the difference, but scrappy handling and a slippy ball saw the play struggle to make across either team’s 10m line.  Several infringements saw the home side penalised on two occasions, but Michael Lawton was unable to make the points count in the squally conditions.

Hinch then took the bit between their teeth and started to take the game to Rainey with Stuart Orr scoring on 17 minutes after a solid period of forward’s play ensured that Hinch kept their recycled ball.  Michael Lawton missed a difficult conversion. Rainey OB 0 – Hinch 5.

The next phase of play saw the Hinch back line do what they do best with strong running and retaining the ball in hand, with Michael Lawton scoring on 25 minutes in the corner, but missed with the difficult touchline conversion.  Rainey OB 0 – Hinch 10.

Hinch now had the advantage and used their big pack to again retain the ball in the difficult conditions.  A further period of strong forward play saw Michael Graham score under the posts and Michael Lawton kicked an easy conversion.  Rainey OB 0 – Hinch 17 – half-time was called.

The second half saw the conditions deteriorate further and both sides struggled with the wind and the rain as ball handling became extremely difficult.  Rainey OB came out the stronger with O’Kane scoring a break away try which was converted. Rainey OB 7 – Hinch 17.

Several substitutions by both sides lifted the pace of the game as the fresh legs took on the ball and on 71 minutes Hinch secured the bonus point try as James McBriar broke free to score in the corner, with Michael Lawton missing a very difficult conversion.

Overall a scrappy affair, not helped by the conditions, but sensible forwards play and the usual strong running of the Hinch back line saw them the bonus points victors in a difficult match against a very capable Rainey OB side.