League leaders Grosvenor held off a strong second half rally from Randalstown to cement their position at the top of Division Two, and at the same time, strike a blow to one of their promotion rivals.
Tied at 7-7 after ten minutes, this one looked like living up to its billing, but a devastating showing from the ‘Stags’ laid the foundations for a hugely important victory. Centre Mitch McComb twice showed blistering pace to exploit the smallest of gaps in the home defence while winger Coard also claimed a five pointer.
Trailing by nineteen points at the break, Randalstown started the second quite deflated. Eventually they got some possession and territory and sustained pressure saw out half Connolly touchdown in the corner. A penalty from the same player a few minutes later cut the gap to eleven points and with twenty minutes still to play, the home team had a bounce in their step.
On 66 minutes they were more than back in the game when McClenaghan took a pass from prop McBrien to storm clear from 20 metres out and score his side’s third try of the day. Connolly’s conversion made it 25-29 and serious questions were being asked about Grosvenor’s title credentials.
The Belfast side went on the offensive and for the first time in the second half. Skipper Andrew Kelly almost got over for a deserved try but was held up. From the resulting scrum, out half Davison managed to power his way over to score under the posts. The strong running No 10 doing well to recover the ball after the home defence almost caused him to lose possession.
A big win for the league leaders who now sit eight clear of second place Ballymoney while Randalstown remain in third spot, a further four adrift.
Randalstown: D. McGlade, C. Donnelly, J. Orr, D. Morrow, C. Mason, M. Connolly, C. McGoldrick, M. McBrien, M. O’Neill, G. Hume, C. Barkley, D. Millar, P. Knowles, I. Hume, D. Smith. Replacements: S. McClenaghan, C. McGrenaghan.
Grosvenor: A. Skelton, B. Coard, M. Johnston, M. McComb, D. Egner, P. Davison, A. McCluggage, M. Rainey, S. Smyth, P. Jamison, W. Rea, P. Hamill, S. Purdon, J. Mealiff, A. Kelly. Replacements: M. Boyd & M. Johnston.
Referee: Mr Robbie McGreer