Ulster Bank AIL 2C Rainey Old Boys 38pts Boyne 3pts

Boyne were certainly brought back to reality with a severe bump on Saturday last by a rejuvenated Rainey Old Boys who have greatly improved their squad following their demotion from Div 2b last season. On arrival at the beautifully appointed grounds and clubhouse of the Maherafelt based club, the visitors encountered dreadful weather conditions with torrential rain falling for most of the game.
Boyne received an abject lesson on how to play the conditions by their opponents, who, despite having an impressive backline, decided to let their forwards do the majority of the donkey work for the duration off the game. This was evident right from the kick off when having gained possession, they retained the ball through several phases making ground with each thrust until their prop, O’Hagan finished off their efforts when he dived over for his sides opening try. Rainey out half, Craig Laidlier, landed the extra’s to put his side 7pts up with only four minutes played. This was to set the trend for the rest of the match. Boyne did come back into the contest and had possession for spells but handling errors and erratic  kicking proved their undoing when in attacking situations.
Winger Brodigan provided Boyne’s best opportunity when he broke away from a ruck, which the Boyne forwards did well to win turnover ball, but he was tackled inside the Rainey 22’ with a lineout ensuing. Chances like this proved rare for Boyne and they had to contend with a lively pack of Rainey forwards who relentlessly drove at the Boyne defence in the loose. Their thrusts and transfers continued to make ground each time and with their ploy of using their excellent out half, Laidlier, to kick them into the attacking zones they were content to take the game to Boyne.
There was one area in which Boyne did have a slight edge and this was in the set scrums where they had parity in most scrums and the edge some of the time. They had their first opportunity for a score when Rainey were penalised for collapsing the scrum and Kerbey went for the posts 30 mts out. In terribly difficult conditions his effort was off target. The rare occasion the Boyne backs did get ball they did make ground but on a day when handling was difficult, their efforts came to nothing.
Rainey had chances to score when another blanket attack looked like producing a try but they were penalised for “crossing” which relieved the pressure for Boyne. On another occasion their full back intercepted and raced away to what looked a certain try but he looked for support instead of “backing” himself to go the whole way and Boyne recovered to thwart a score. The constant thrusts of the home forwards did yield another score before half time when they drove off a lineout to score their second try. This was converted to bring them to 14pts coming up to half time. Boyne did manage to put points on the scoreboard when Kerbey landed a penalty to leave the score at the break 14pts to 3pts.
The second half saw Boyne’s efforts dissipate completely and the home side take control of all exchanges to pile on the points on the score board. They were content to kick for goal on the restart with their out half Laidlier slotting over to bring their score to 17pts. The Rainey loose forwards were rampant and complemented by a mobile front five they paved the way for scoring two more tries to secure their bonus point on the 60th minute. Boyne’s riposte was fast fading as the game wore on and the exemplary discipline displayed on the opening day of this league didn’t follow through into this game. Before the final whistle they added another converted try to complete their tally and leave the full time score 38pts to 3pts.
Boyne will have to look at aspects of their game, which, for the second successive week, gave cause for concern. Their lineout was once again abysmal and their failure to retain possession in contact is also another area to work on. The conditions for this game did not allow for expansive rugby and Rainey employed tactics to deal with this, by giving control to their forwards to take the game to their opponents which they did to devastating effect. The Rainey out half, Craig Laidlier, was imperious throughout this game and gave his forwards great encouragement with his kicking into the vital areas to attack the opposition. But the ease with which Rainey continuously penetrated the Boyne defence was a contributory factor in their comprehensive victory. These are areas which Boyne will have to work on if they are to make progress. For the second successive game, Rory Hennessy, proved to be the outstanding Boyne player. Although small in stature, the youngster lacks nothing in heart, pace and power and was the only Boyne player to match the Rainey forwards in this regard.
Boyne once again make the trip up North next Saturday when they play Bangor.
Boyne XV & Replacements; Eoghan Duffy; Adam Brodigan, Ronan O’Brien, Brian Howell, Kevin McCleery; Niall Kerbey, Nicky Smith; John Kinsella, Padraic Mongey, Hugh Carolan; Richard Shuttleworth, John Kermath; George Cooney, Ciaran Smith, Rory Hennessy. Repls all used; Pat Shuttleworth, David Callaghan, James McKevitt, Marco Cangemi & A. Afioaie.