RAINEY 31 BANBRIDGE 37
Banbridge picked up their second Ulster League win and a bonus point to boot in a high-scoring game at Magherafelt.
Coach Daniel Soper said afterwards that it was important to get the win after successive defeats in their previous two outings.
“We played some good rugby today with the ball in hand,” he commented.
“Our set piece was very good again and that gave us the platform we needed to bring the best out of the three-quarters.
“One negative was our defensive work which at times was just too relaxed and that allowed Rainey to score tries which they should really have had to work harder for.”
Star of the show was Bann’s young out-half Adam Doherty who registered 22 of his side’s points.
A graduate of Bann’s youth system, Doherty had gained considerable AIL experience last season but found himself battling for the No 10 jersey this time around with Shandon Scott, the latter having come back to the club after a spell with Malone.
With Scott sidelined after picking up an injury in the pre-match warm-up the previous week, Doherty had the chance to stake a strong claim for a starting place.
And he did that in style, scoring a try and kicking all four conversions as well as three penalties for a handsome tally.
Fifteen first half points from Doherty and a try from Hugo Harbinson allowed Bann to take a 17-20 lead into the break.
But those defensive lapses allowed Rainey to stay in touch throughout, although second half tries from Andrew Morrison and James Andrews, along with the metronomic Doherty boot, took Bann 24-37 clear going into the closing stages of the game.
Rainey’s last- gasp converted try pulled them within six points, earned them two bonus points and set the stage nicely for the All-Ireland encounter between the teams at Rifle Park on December 7.