Medallion Plate: Rainey Endowed 9 Larne Grammar 7 Semi Final

Published Categorised as 2021-22, Larne Grammar School, Medallion Plate, Rainey Endowed School, Schools Medallion Tagged ,
Rainey Endowed win the Medallion Plate with a 9-7 victory over Larne Grammar School

Three strikes from Ben Bell calls time on Larne Grammar’s Cup run.

Report and images by Nick Murray.

A cold and windswept Magherafelt was the stage for the Medallion Plate semi-final between Rainey and Larne GS sides on Saturday morning.

Larne started brightly with their first attack down their left hand wing, but were stopped short of the 22. The majority of the first quarter was then played in midfield, with both sides having possession, but not really doing much with it. A strong wind behind Rainey, should have seen them take the territorial advantage, but it didn’t really work out that way.

Larne look to break out in the first half.

After 20 minutes, Rainey did get territory and a penalty close enough to the Larne line for Ben Bell to opt for a kick. Although the position was quite central, a strong diagonal wind from right-to-left for him, made the kick tricky enough, but he slotted it over with aplomb to give Rainey a slender 3 – 0 lead, and so it remained until half-time.

Three penalty kicks from Ben Bell were the deciding factor in this close game.

Playing into the strong wind in the second half, Rainey might have felt they were up against it even with their lead, but similarly to the fist half, the advantage of the wind was not really evident in the territory enjoyed by Larne.

That said, Larne certainly showed more attacking intent, getting well into the Rainey 22 a couple of times in the third quarter, but a penalty for Rainey slightly against the run of play, brought the first real chance of points in the second half. Again in front of the posts, but a different prospect this time for young Bell with the wind in his face and moving left-to-right this time, he set himself up well and slotted it over as if he’d been practicing all day. 6-0.

That increase in lead saw Rainey get their tails in the air, and their determination to drive forward was much more evident. The game became very stop-start though, with Larne being penalised time and time again for minor infringements, and tempers started to fray slightly.

With just 10 minutes remaining and Larne knowing they had to get to the other end of the pitch, yet another penalty given away in front of the posts, gave Rainey a chance to stretch their lead to beyond a converted score.

Similar to his second kick, but a little farther out this time, Bell settled himself for a kick with a bit more pressure. A sound strike into the wind saw the ball creep over the bar by no more than 2 feet, and Rainey had a bit of breathing space with the score at 9 – 0.

A late try from Ethan Duncan wasn’t enough for Larne Grammar.

Larne were immediately on the front foot from the restart knowing it was do-or-die, and maintained pressure on the Rainey defence before Ethan Duncan went over to give Larne a slender chance.

Duncan then stepped up to take the conversion, and under some pressure slotted it over to make the score 9 – 7.

The ref’s whistle blew immediately after the conversion, and the importance of that slim clearance of the bar on the last kick from Ben Bell, showed itself.

The final score of 9 – 7 reflected the close nature of the game, and Larne will rue the number of infractions, but sometimes slim margins are the deciding factors. A fine kicking display from Bell in challenging conditions and a 9 point personal tally for him, sees Rainey into the Medallion Plate Final, to be played on Saturday 12th March.

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