Coleraine Academical Institution swept aside Regent House in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup third round game to set up a quarter final showdown with Ballyclare High School.
The local lads dominated their opponents and the conditions winning 41-0 to leave their coach Richard Beggs a happy man at the end.
“For most of the first quarter Regent took the game to us but we never appeared to lose control,” he said.
“We played possession in the first half and territory in the second. We have gained plenty of experience from our first game in the competition at Banbridge and now look forward to the quarter-finals with confidence.
“It doesn’t really matter who we play as long as we have home advantage. I thought our outstanding player was Mark Gordon, who was a wing forward last year and is now in the centre.
“He has improved leaps and bounds and it is surprising that he has been overlooked by the Ulster selectors.”
Regent coach John West thought his young team played to the best of their ability. “I don’t think Coleraine were 41 points better than us but we didn’t take our chances in the first half. They were very strong in the midfield with plenty of speed and skills.
“Our Matthew Johnston at No 6 played well and our front row containing Rhys Thompson and Tom Arthur-Donnan matched the opposition.
“Second row Tommy Scullion also showed his class. I feel we have an encouraging future as only three of this year’s squad will not be returning.”
The Coleraine team won the toss and decided to play into the wind and rain.
Coleraine opened the scoring on seven minutes when their centre, Mark Gordon, chipped over the Regent blitz defence on the half way line.
Mark was first to the ball and he side-stepped the fullback before outpacing the remaining defenders to score close a try to the posts.
Conor Shiels missed the conversion when the ball fell off the tee but his team had a 5-0 lead.
Regent showed great spirit and rallied with a very positive display. However, they failed to capitalise and were beaten at the breakdown by the more physical Coleraine pack.
On 17 minutes, Brad Dempster made a telling break on the half way line.
He carried the ball deep into the Regent 22m area when a last ditch tackle was made by the visitor’s full-back.
From the ensuing ruck, Regent infringed and Conor Shiels converted a penalty from the ensauing ruck to put his team into an 8-0 lead.
Twenty five minutes into the game the Coleraine scored again when Joel Stanbridge took advantage of a great break from Mark Gordon.
Joel barged his way over the Regent line to touch down for a try.
Shiels converted the try to see his team into a 15-0 lead, a lead the Coleraine team held until the interval.
From the restart, Callum Smith pinned Regent back into their half with some excellent tactical kicking.
Mark Gordon used this field position to good effect and was the next to add to the Coleraine tally.
From another phase of play Shiels put in a deft kick which allowed Mark to reclaim the ball and proceed to outpace the defence to score under the posts.
Shiels converted the try to increase the Coleraine AI lead to 29-0.
Coleraine made a raft of changes but it did not change the momentum of the match.
On 55minutes Coleraine AI scored another well worked try.
A missed touch allowed scrum half, Ryan Gillan, to make a telling break up the line.
He fed the ball to Callum Smith who drew the final defender and passed to Gordon who ran in to score his hat-trick.
Shiels converted the try to put his team into a 36-0 lead.
With just two minutes of the game remaining, Alross Alejo ghosted past a number of defenders when a Regent kick didn’t make touch. The winger then fed Thomas Pethick, who ran in for an unconverted try.
This ensured it was the Coleraine’s day. Coach Beggs got his wish with a home draw and fortunately for his team they steered clear of Campbell, RBAI and Methody but face Ballyclare High. Inst have already recorded a win against them but that was earlier in the season and Ballyclare are seeded above them.