The Mighty 3's come away empty handed
By Louis Fields
The 3's lose for the first time this season
City of Derry RFC 3rd XV Match Report
(vs Rainey OB, 13/10/18)
The Mighty Threes traveled to Hatrick Park to face rivals, Rainey Old Boys in a County Derry Derby. After a hotly contested battle, the Three’s will be disappointed to come away empty handed for the first time this season.
Derry started the game well playing through many phases, heaping pressure on the Rainey side, but it was pressure the old boys were able absorb and the Derry men were unable to break down their defence. During this period, an early bit of handbags off the ball set the tone for what was a bruising game. Any time Derry appeared to build any momentum, handling errors and penalties relieved the pressure and gave Rainey field position. Rainey took full advantage of this improved position, getting the first score of the game. Following the restart, it was more of the same as Derry played the best rugby, only to let Rainey off with errors. Impressive runs from Ashley Doherty
and Alex Renaud broke the line but slow support led to penalties being conceded. Rainey outhalf Gareth Hall began playing to the conditions, kicking to space and pinning Derry back in their own half.
Following a Rainey lineout close to the Derry line, the ball was spread to the backs and was run in under the posts. The try was converted, giving the home team a 12-0 lead. Derry began to fight back, getting out of their half. Rainey's Hall was lucky not to see yellow when he got between Derry outhalf Jack Cassidy
and Center Daire Walker
and deliberately knocked the ball on. Derry kicked to the corner and set up a maul, but Rainey managed to steal the ball in the maul, breaking away to relieve pressure.
Derry soon found themselves back in the Rainey 22 however and when the the team conceded another penalty, the decision was made to kick for the posts. Cassidy slotted the ball between the posts handing his team 3 points. Rainey were keen to restore the deficit and the first opportunity they had, their centre, Kearns, stepped up to kick 3 points. At half time, Derry were disappointed as the scoreline didn't reflect their efforts.
In the second half, Rainey turned it up a notch, forcing Derry to once again play most of their rugby in their own half. Under pressure, Derry were getting frustrated and let the referee know, to which he responded by marching them back 10 metres. While defending their line, skipper Adam Kyle
was shown a yellow card for failing to roll away, forcing a reshuffle of the backline and Daire Walker
in to his more familiar position of scrum half, while winger Chris McCandless
moved to outside centre.
Rainey exploited the extra man when they ran a loop around both centres before passing wide to their wing to score in the corner. Derry felt the game get away from them as they found themselves on the back foot for long periods. Rainey once again found the whitewash after a line out on the Derry 10 metre line was caught by the second row, who shrugged off tackles for a one on one with Derry wing Mark Smyth
, who chopped him low but an offload found it's man and with no fullback, it was a clean run for Rainey to the line.
At the 60 minute mark, Derry were 27-3 down but had plenty of fight left in them, literally, as an impromptu boxing match broke out on half way. This woke Derry up and lit a fire under them, there wouldn't be another backward step. Derry regained the front foot through the forwards with some bone crunching carries from Adam McDuff
. They fought their way into the Rainey 22 where they earned a scrum 10 metres out from the Rainey line. The ball was passed out the back line from Cassidy to Tranter who ghosted through the defence to score untouched. A penalty for Rainey shortly after kick off was in range and they were keen again to restore some of the deficit, kicking another 3 points to make it 30-8.
However, Derry got right back to work, crashing the ball through the forwards. Flanker Danny Burns
fought for every inch on the ground and every inch counted. Before long, Derry were back in the Rainey 22, knocking on the door of the try line. Ashley Doherty
was next on the score sheet when he ran hard touching the ball down with 3 defenders still hanging on to him. The try was converted by Cassidy and although still behind, Derry had all the momentum.
The restart forced an error and a knock on by Rainey handed Derry possession and field position again. Derry continued to hit up the middle and continued to find success. In some broken play, replacement hooker Brendan Murphy
spotted a gap and drew the last defender before an outrageous basketball pass to James Toland
who ran it in to score. Cassidy again split the posts with his conversion.
With time running out, Derry needed 2 more scores, and fought hard for it, but Rainey found success in slowing down Derry ball and soon familiar errors and discipline issues returned. Derry's last attack was thwarted when scrum half Adam Kyle
received his second yellow for encouraging a Rainey player to stop laying on the ball in a ruck. It was a let off for Rainey who only had to hold on on to possession for a few minutes before kicking the ball off the park and sounding the final whistle.
It was a strong fight back by the Mighty Threes but they will rue in the fact it took an hour to gain a foot hold in the game as they ultimately ran out of time in the end.
Next week will see Derry host Strabane.