Rainey Endowed 1st XV defeat Banbridge Academy to reach Bowl Final
On Saturday 19th February Rainey Endowed School hosted Banbridge Academy in the semi final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools Bowl. In front of a large crowd Banbridge started the brighest and for the first 15-20 minutes dominated the game.
However Rainey defended very well and in this period all Banbridge had to show for their superiority was a penalty. The game swung after about 22 minutes when Banbridge lost their influential centre Matthew Kerr with a serious leg injury. He had been making many storming runs, and Rainey were finding it difficult to contain him. However his lose seemed to mentally affect the visitors and Rainey gradually started to get a grip on the game. Rainey also lost hooker Owen Devlin who was replaced by Jack McCalmont. After a numnber of sweeping moves that involved most of the team, Thomas Booth straightened lovely to put Fintan Quinn in the corner. The conversion was missed but Rainey now lead 3 – 0.
In the second period Rainey gained the upper hand. Jamie Burrows and Damien McMurray were doing alot of damage and making alot of ground with telling breaks. Rainey also had the initiative up front with Captain Luke Steele and ‘man of the match’ James Kelso dominating. Rainey’s second try was to come through the forwards, after a number of pick and goes James Kelso crashed over. Martin Connolly converted to give Rainey a 12-3 lead. Rainey continued to be on top, but a late surge from Banbridge made the final few minutes very tense.
From a 5 metre lineout Mark Mc Erlean rose high to steal a Banbridge throw. Rainey cleared their lines and to the delight of the large home crowd and coach Charlie Simpson the final whistle went to leave Rainey the victors in a very keenly fought contest. Rainey must wait to find out who their opposition will be in the final. Friends School, Lisburn play Foyle and Londonderry College with the winners playing Rainey in the Final on Monday 7th March.