Rainey kick off Premiership season with shock win over defending champions Ballynahinch

Timmy McNeice on the attack for Armagh against City of Derry. Pic courtesy of Ken Redpath.
Timmy McNeice on the attack for Armagh against City of Derry. Pic courtesy of Ken Redpath.
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There was a huge shock in Division One on the opening weekend of the SONI Ulster Rugby Premiership as newly-promoted Rainey toppled defending champions Ballynahinch 29-16 at Hatrick Park.

The Old Boys secured a bonus points as they outscored the County Down side by four tries to two.

Hinch made a strong start, with Sean O’Hagan kicking two penalties, then Rainey got the game’s first try through Gareth Hall.

Hinch went into half-time with an 11-5 lead after Chris Cairns went over for an unconverted try.

Jack McIntosh scored Rainey’s second try and Marty Connolly converted to give the home side a one-point lead.

Scrum half Jason Bloomfield was next to cross for the Magherafelt men, with Connolly again adding the extra two points.

Loose forward John McCusker got the bonus point try which Connolly converted.

Hinch got a consolation try but any hopes of a fightback or a losing bonus point were extinguished with a Connolly penalty.

Queen’s started their campaign with an impressive 17-13 win on the road at Ballymena.

Fijian winger Fal El Vave and hooker Alexander Clarke got the students’ tries, with Ritchie McMaster kicking two conversions and a penalty.

There was a winning start at Malone for former Ireland and Ulster flanker Chris Henry as the Belfast side beat Banbridge 13-10 at Rifle Park.

Malone led 8-7 at the break with a try from hooker Scott Finlay and a penalty from out half Callum Smith, Bann replied with a try from Robbie Mathers which Adam Doherty converted. Gary Andrews’ try proved decisive for the Gibson Park side.

Armagh began their quest to bounce back into Division One with a 24-7 win at City of Derry. Neil Faloon got two of Armagh’s four tries in the bonus point win.

Belfast Harlequins edged a tight affair 8-7 with Bangor at Deramore. Hooker Steven Weir got a try and out half James Bovill kicked a penalty for Quins then Bangor replied with a try from Ali Lockhart, which Michael Aspley converted.

Omagh beat Dungannon 30-17.