Coleraine got the competitive rugby season off to a positive start on Saturday, winning the tournament and taking home the Moore Cup from Randalstown Rugby Club.
The annual pre-season event gave the Bannsiders the opportunity to see how they measure up against some of this year’s competition in Kukri Qualifying League, Section 2. After making it through the qualifying rounds Coleraine took the title, winning 14-7 against Carrickfergus.
Director of Rugby, Norman Blair, says the Coleraine squad, sponsored by ‘Cookstown’, were happy with their performance. He said: “The guys played well throughout the day and didn’t concede a point until the second half of the last game.
“The pack was very strong, dominating the scrum and proving their strength in the line-outs. The back-line was also impressive in all the games and as we were allowed rolling substitutions, everybody got valuable game time.
“We had quite a few of the squad unavailable for various reasons and it was pleasing to see the commitment and the level of performance put in by the players on the day. It shows that we have some depth available as we start the season.
“The win was satisfying and it is certainly a step in the right direction. There’s a great sense of purpose in the squad at the moment, a great buzz, and this win gets us off to the sort of start we hoped for.
“The tournament gave us a chance to see how other sides in Section 2 are shaping up, although, like ourselves, all the teams were a bit under-strength.
“Our first league match is at home to Carrickfergus on 20 September and that’s when we see how we are really progressing. We’re all looking forward to getting the league started.”
In the competition the first matches were 12 minutes each way. First up was Carrick and a try from Niall Irwin and a conversion and penalty from Michael Poskitt gave Coleraine a 10-0 win.
The second match against Larne saw a 7-0 win with a try from Stephen Dickey and another Poskitt conversion.
The semi-final game against Holywood was another win. Mark Hunter and Bokkie Carstens scored, Poskitt claiming two conversions.
In the final Coleraine again met Carrick. David Andrews and Angus Thompson scored tries in the first half, Poskitt again on target for the extras. In the second half Carrick came back for a time, scoring a converted try, but Coleraine rallied to keep control and secure the 14-7 win.
Coleraine 1stXV squad: A Hogg, M Hunter, D McCorkell, W Chestnut, C Breadon, H Tate, B Bailey, S Dickey(Capt), N Blair, B Carstens, N Irwin, D Andrews, M Poskitt, A Barr, B Cochrane, P O’Hara, P Shiels.