City of Derry made it eight successive victories on Saturday when they defeated Rainey at Judges Road to move up to second spot in the Ulster Senior League table.
City of Derry 22
Despite victory in what was an error strewn game, it was the return of key players from injury which will have pleased Head Coach Bevan Lynch most. Second Row Bob McKillop and winger William McCleery both got 80 minutes while No. 8 Stephen Ferguson got over 60 minutes.
The early pressure was all from Derry but they were unable to breakdown a sold Rainey defence. The Magherafelt men eventually came back at Derry and with scrum-half Peter Sciascia and out-half Gavin Martin pulling the strings, they released wing forward Peter Heaney to get in for an unconverted try on 21 minutes.
Adam Parke kicked a penalty for Derry on the half hour to reduce the arrears but Rainey had played themselves into the game and were rewarded again five minutes before half-time when a loose kick out of the Derry defence was punished in some style. Andrew Campbell and full -back Alan Clarke worked the ball back to the Derry ‘22 and linked with Sciascia who took advantage of some generous home defending to score an unconverted try and give his side a 10-3 lead.
Derry came back strongly and Alan Clarke, the Rainey full-back, was sent to the bin on 40 minutes for repeated breakdown infringements. Derry’s front row of Sam Duffy, Cathal Cregan and Gareth Beatty then produced two massive 5m scrums and when No, 8 Ritchie Baird drove forward supported by Stephen Corr and Stephen Ferguson, quick ball was pounced upon by centre Adam Parke to touch down for a deserved try which he converted for 10-10 at the interval.
Derry started the second half in positive fashion as McKillop and Davy Houston combined four minutes in to produce go-forward ball. Houston made an incisive break from half-way and when stopped he linked with Simon Logue who released the impressive McCleery to sprint in from 20m for an unconverted try.
The Derry backs were now getting some quality ball and McCleery made another incisive break on 51 minutes. When the Derry back row produced quick ball at the breakdown, Andrew Semple was there to release Richie Baird for an excellent try which Parke converted for 22-10.
Rainey responded with a driving maul from their forwards from which Michael Shields touched down for an unconverted try.
Rainey threw everything at Derry for the last ten minutes but outstanding discipline in defence for the home side held their line intact.
City of Derry: Sam Duffy, Cathal Cregan, Gareth Beatty, Bob McKillop, David Houston, Stephen Corr, Stephen Duffy, Richard Baird, Andrew Semple, Richard Peoples, William McCleery, Adam Parke, Chris Barber, Josh Lewis, Simon Logue. Replacements: Sam McAuley, Stephen Ferguson, Richard McCarter, Ryan Campbell, Adam Bratton