All Ireland League – Old Wesley 24 Rainey Old Boys 7
After a four week break Old Wesley returned to All Ireland League action with an away visit to Rainey Old Boys RFC in the County Derry town of Magherafelt.
Right from the start Old Wesley had the upper hand when Rainey failed to control the kick off conceding a line out five meters from their goal line. Wesley were unable to capitalise however from virtually the next play a fine center field break by Mark Rowley bought play deep into the opposition 22. Darren Horan was on hand to take the pass and cross for the first try of the match. Wesley maintained the pressure and looked to be over again after eight minutes. Rainey just about stopped the attack but conceded a penalty in front of the posts which Barry McLaughlin had no difficulty in converting. Rainey then had their first scoring opportunity with a penalty kick but, hampered by the difficult breeze, failed to convert the points. Seventeen minutes into the half the hosts conceded a penalty on half way. McLaughlin again stepped up and, aided by the strong breeze, kicked the points to take an 11 nil lead. Minutes later it was déjà vu time as McLaughlin converted an identical penalty. However his third attempt, again from the half way drifted wide. Approaching half time Wesley had a number of try scoring opportunities but the Rainey defence stood firm. However Wesley closed the first half with a McLaughlin penalty goal to leave it 17 nil at the break.
But, now facing into increasing wind and rain, the big question was, was this enough of a lead. Rainey started the second half with a number of sorties into Wesley territory. The Wesley defence stood firm but when the hosts were awarded a penalty on the Wesley 22 the visiting supporters started to look worried. But crucially Rainey missed the kick. Then a speculative kick by Rory Stynes earned Wesley a line out 10 meters from the opposition goal line. Wesley secured clean line out ball and Mark Rowley crossed for a try under the posts. McLaughlin converted and suddenly any come-back hopes by Rainey were starting to fizzle out. Nevertheless Wesley were dealt a blow 20 minutes into the half when Richie Morrow was yellow carded for a technical infringement. Rainey responded by piling on the pressure eventually crossed for a converted try.
However the wind was now abating and any advantage to the Ulstermen had gone. Wesley knew all they had to do was mark time and with neither side looking like they might earn a bonus point there were no further scores and the game ended 24-7 to Old Wesley.
After four matches in the competition the result means Old Wesley are still leading the way as table toppers 3 points clear of the chasers.
Team: Rory Stynes, Barry McLaughlin, Ger Finucane, Steven Harvey, Richie Jermyn, Alan Large (capt), Ian Cassidy, Ken Knaggs, David Rowley, James Burton, Richie Morrow, Michael Dunleavy, Darren Horan, Stephen Boyle, Mark Rowley. Subs: Andrew McCrann, Jurgen Steinbach, Josh Hinde Eoin Fitzpatrick, Alan Jeffares,
Old Wesley scorers: Darren Horan, try; Mark Rowley, try; Barry McLaughlin, 1 con, 4 pens