Coleraine made the long journey to Portadown on Saturday and despite holding the lead during the first half, by the end of the game they lost out 38-18.
Throughout the match there were opportunities for both sides but Coleraine were unable to capitalise to the same extent as the oppositions.
Speaking after the match Coleraine coach Richard Beggs was taking positives from the performance. He said: “Yes we lost out to Portadown, who are at the top of the league, but there were some great performances from the Coleraine side.
“We had the lead for a lot of the first half but the experience and cohesion of the Portadown players won the day for them. We are still finding our feet with a new lineup this season but there were some very encouraging performances today.
“We had a lot of possession and attacked well but we just lacked the finish touch, spilling ball, missing passes. We also slipped up in defence with a number of missed tackles and poor handling being quickly punished by Portadown.
“We always knew this would be a stern test but we were resilient and kept going throughout the game. Nigel Hall made a great comeback with two tries and as we move forward the mix of experienced players and new younger talent is going to give a great boost to our performance.”
On the day the ‘Cookstown’ sponsored Coleraine side made most of the initial exchanges. Probing attacks saw the home side yielding two penalties, Bokkie Carstens claimed three points from the second of these.
With seven minutes gone Portadown attacked following a penalty against Coleraine. A strong break saw them breach the defence and score a converted try.
Five minutes later Carstens was on target again from the Portadown 22 for three more points.
From the restart Coleraine mounted a swift attack, scrum half Archie Kettyle chipping forward, Nigel hall chasing and gathering before sidestepping the defence to break away and score. Carstens was on target with the conversion.
The Coleraine hopes were dashed when Aaron Gaston was yellow carded after a tackle was adjudged to be dangerous. Portadown used their advantage as the forwards rumbled over the line for a converted try and a one point lead. The home pressure continued and a certain breakaway try was averted with great cover from Conor Simpson and Brian Cochrane.
In the last moments of the half Portadown played a clever chip over the Coleraine defence and when the ball was mishandled they quickly gathered and sprinted to score between the posts for another converted try. Half time Portadown 22-13 Coleraine.
On the restart Coleraine were on the offensive but when Portadown gained possession and cleared the resultant throw in was the platform for another try from the pack. A penalty soon added to the tally.
Coleraine put together some promising attacks but knock-ons and penalty decisions stifled each effort. Just on the half hour Portadown again attacked and again the well organised forwards rolled over the line to score.
In the dying minutes of the game Coleraine’s Nigel Hall scored again. A concerted attack involving forwards and backs culminated with Hall cutting a incisive line through the defence, shrugging of tackles to score in the corner. The conversion went wide and when the final whistle sounded the score was Portadown 38-18 Coleraine.
This weekend Coleraine are away to Instonians Seconds in the second round of the Junior Cup.
Coleraine Seconds put in a very mature and confident performance on Saturday, defeating Ballymoney Seconds 34-12
In the game the first points went to Ballymoney and they were quickly followed by Coleraine centre Reza Dehaghani. Ballymoney scored again and but before long the home side responded. Coleraine’s next try started with a great run by full back Ali Chambers. Jonathan Henderson was in support and powered through to score.
The third try came from a back row move involving Paul Roxborough, setting up Dehaghani for his second try.
After the break Henderson got his second try with a brilliant individual run. Harry Tate, in the back row was next up, linking well with winger Stevie Callaghan to score. The final try went to winger Scott Moffett after great running from Greg Neely and Russell Smith.