COLERAINE TAKE POINTS AGAINST C.I.Y.M.S.
Nine points, a brace of penalties and a neat dropped goal, from the boot of out-half Greg Jordan, were enough to earn Coleraine 1st XV four league points, at home to C.I.Y.M.S. on Saturday. The Bannsiders conceded a late unconverted try before emerging as 9-5 victors in a bruising encounter against their Belfast visitors.
The home side, enjoying considerable Cup success this season, but struggling to achieve any consistency in the Kukri League, dominated territory and possession in the opening quarter but a disciplined C.I. defence held firm aided on occasions by loose passing and faulty handling by Coleraine.
Coleraine skipper Johnny Gault did well to charge down an attempted clearance, after 15 minutes but was forced to retire as a consequence and substitute Mark Hunter then added to his reputation for versatility with a wholehearted display in an unfamiliar position.
In fact the loss of Gault did not initially appear to weaken the home set pieces with the Coleraine lineout, in particular providing a plentiful supply of ball but faced by a trio of Henry, Anderson and Horner in midfield, all of whom have just stepped down from the senior level, it was a little surprising to see the Sandel Lodge boys persist with handling movements deep in home territory.
The outcome was a half that was characterised by a lack of continuity but certainly plenty of commitment from the players of both sides. For the visitors, back-row forward, Burgess, impressed with ball in hand and David Ferguson, Steven Dickey and Peter Bogle worked tirelessly for the home XV.
Try scoring chances were at a premium. However, a counter attacking run by Brian Cochrane who linked with Aaron Gaston resulted in wing Jonathon Henderson being hauled down 3 metres short but Coleraine were penalised at the ruck and a 24th minute, 20metre Jordan penalty was all that separated the sides at the interval. H.T. 3-0.
C.I. had an early opportunity to draw level after 5 minutes of second half action. Coleraine had once again started impressively, retaining possession through several phases and showing more imagination in attack but a loose pass on halfway was seized upon by the visitors and although the home team regrouped and won ruck ball on the Coleraine 5 metre line, C.I.Y.M.S. were awarded a penalty at the next ruck as the Sandel Lodge XV attempted to improve the options for the half backs.
Sadly for the City boys, fullback McVicker pulled his kick to the left of the posts.
Their prospects improved, however after 55minutes when the home team lost the services of the ubiquitous Bogle, due to an ankle injury. Nigel Hall came on in the centre and Stuart Simpson accepted a fresh challenge in the back row. Coleraine now had a much more limited lineout capability and the next 10 minutes saw C.I. control play and go close to scoring in both corners denied only by a committed defence in which the afore-mentioned Simpson excelled.
Henderson was the man who finally raised the siege launching a fine Garryowen on his own 22 and regaining possession on the opposition 22 before feeding the onrushing Dickey, with Hall just failing to hold onto the ball as the try-line beckoned. Five minutes later, with play still in the C.I. half of the pitch, Simpson won a penalty for his team at the breakdown, as the Belmont based XV attempted to run the ball out of defence and Jordanís 22metre penalty extended the home advantage. 6-0.
Coleraine reclaimed possession from the re-start and proceeded to assemble their most impressive attacking sortie of the game, culminating in Jordanís neat 73rd minute dropped goal. 9-0.
A closely fought game between two evenly matched teams appeared likely to produce no reward for one of the protagonists but the visitors were able to claim a losing bonus point at the death when after McVickerís penalty attempt had fallen short the Coleraine threequarters ran the ball back and Anderson intercepted on the home 22. Once again the home defence regrouped really well to deny a score but from the resultant lineout C.I. worked a clever routine and Burgess dived over in the corner. F.T. 9-5.
Attention this week at Sandel Lodge is firmly set on the All Ireland Junior Cup as Coleraine welcome Dundalk in an eagerly awaited quarter-final tie. Having overcome Tuam in the previous round the Coleraine camp would dearly love to progress again this weekend and ensure a place in the last four of this prestigious competition having already achieved that goal in the Millar, McCall and Wylie Junior Cup.. with a home tie against Ballymena 2nds scheduled for Dec. 3rd.