COLERAINE TAKE POINTS AGAINST LIMAVADY
Coleraine 1st XV eased to a comfortable 33-8 home victory over Limavady, on Saturday, in the Kukri Qualifying League and in the process increased the pressure on the Roe Valley side as it continues to fight against relegation alongside fellow strugglers Academy and Dromore.
The Sandel Lodge players however, will have taken little satisfaction from the game despite scoring 5 tries to ensure another bonus point. Perhaps the midweek exertions which so nearly brought victory against champions-elect, Clogher Valley, caught up with them, but this was a scrappy encounter with the home XV guilty of committing far too many unforced handling errors against a willing but limited opposition.
It was Limavady that drew first blood after 4 minutes, Ross Parkhill succeeding with a penalty, well struck from 22 metres out and left of the posts. 0-3.
Greg Jordan’s restart was coughed up by Limavady and signalled a sustained attack by the home XV. Twice, Jordan scorned kicks at goal to opt instead for the Michael Hay corner and twice, the catch and drive looked certain to culminate in a try but somehow the Limavady line remained intact. Finally, after the ball had been spun left to the other touchline, Stuart Simpson combined sweetly with Steven Dickey, post –ruck and the latter burst through on the 22 to touchdown to the left of the posts. 5-3.
It proved to be a rare moment of quality as Coleraine’s laudable attempts to play an expansive game came to nought, as much through imprecise passing as by any pressure exerted by the visitors.
A clean break by Kiwi Jordan, on half-way, after 20 minutes, promised much but the outside support failed to exploit the advantage and the No. 10. became isolated on the 22 with the Limavady defence regrouping effectively. A penalty, harshly awarded against Steven Jefferson, for not releasing, allowed Parkhill to carry play into the Coleraine half and the Roesiders enjoyed a lengthy period of possession. Prop John McCollum and lock John Purcell were particularly effective but the visitors lacked variation, playing a narrow game and failing to unsettle the Coleraine defence.
The nearest Limavady came to crossing the whitewash in the first half an hour of play, was when Purcell picked off a loose Coleraine pass, in home territory and charged clear only denied a score when a superb cover tackle by Simpson stopped him a metre short of the line.
Then in the 37th minute, we were reminded of the capability of this Coleraine XV.A threequarter line attack was launched with real intent and after Brian Cochrane raced 30 metres along the left touchline he timed his pass perfectly to feed the supporting Niall Irwin and the winger ran in unopposed with Jordan adding the extras. 12-3.
Undaunted and aided by a brace of penalties awarded against the home XV in double quick time, the Roesiders searched for points and after Coleraine had repelled several close range thrusts for the line, Brian Hamilton did succeed in grounding the ball for a well earned try. 12-8.
It could have been even closer at the break with Parkhill watching his 25 metre penalty attempt drift wide of the left hand post to complete the first half of the action. H.T.12-8.
The second half was only 10 minutes old when the destiny of the points was determined and the critical score came as the result of another well executed play involving Jordan and Irwin, the winger slicing through a gap in midfield and sending Tommy Van Wyk in by the posts for a try converted by Jordan. 19-8.
The home side now went in search of a 4th try and consequent bonus point. It duly arrived on the hour mark after an unscripted wrestle involving Andy Neely and Limavady’s McLoughlin had seen yellow cards issued to both players. Once again Van Wyk was the scorer, spotting a gap on half-way and striding clear to provide Jordan with a simple conversion. 26-8.
Adam Teacy, making his 1st XV debut, and Ryan Gibson, entered the fray and a fine break by Simpson caused further problems for a tiring Limavady XV. Coleraine remained encamped in the their opponent’s 22 and after Kenny Calladine had gone close to scoring, the industrious Simpson darted in for a deserved try, The same player added the conversion to complete the scoring. F.T. 33-8.