Coleraine move to the second round of rugby’s Powerade Town’s Cup after a confident win against Ballymoney on Saturday.
Although on paper the ‘Cookstown’ sponsored Coleraine team were underdogs against the Junior 1 side, they put in a strong performance to claim the second round spot with a scoreline of 11-3.
The Bannsiders will find out on Tuesday evening who they face in the next round.
A massive crowd, estimated in excess of 1,000, descended on Rugby Avenue at the weekend and they were rewarded with a thrilling game from start to finish. Good weather and vocal support brought out the best in both sides as they fought for advantage in game, the first time both sides had met in a knock out cup competition.
Speaking after the match Coleraine coach John Boyd said: “It was a hard fought game and all our players put in strong performances. We were up against a Qualifying 1 side and it was a local derby, so naturally we had to work hard.
“There was a lot of pace to the game and I have to thank the crowd for their fantastic support. It really spurred us on.
“We were much more structured in our approach today and defensively we were very strong. We had some great attacking phases and were unlucky not to have made several more scores, but in the end we are more than happy with the result.
“We will celebrate tonight, then we turn our attention back to the league and Lisburn at home next week. The league is still our priority and we are targeting wins for the rest of the season.”
The game started as it continued with Coleraine dictating the pace.
Within the opening ten minutes Coleraine created most of the pressure and were rewarded with a penalty on the Ballymoney 22. Bokkie Carstens kicked for points only to see the ball drift just wide.
From the restart Coleraine again attacked on the wing, a charging Niall Irwin being forced into touch in the corner as he seemed certain to score.
From a Ballymoney throw-in Coleraine gained possession and smart work between the pack and the backline saw Mikey Poskitt touch down, only for the referee to disallow the score as the result of an earlier knock on.
The pressure continued and five minutes later another penalty was awarded to the rampant home side. DD Andrews took the shot from just inside the Ballymoney half but the ball fell short.
With just over half an hour on the clock, Coleraine were again awarded a penalty and this time Carstens was on target from 25 metres. 3-0
In the closing minutes of the half Ballymoney put together a determined attack deep into Coleraine territory. Coleraine defended stoutly as wave upon wave of attack pressed their line, eventually relieved through a penalised infringement.
At the break Andrews was replaced through injury, Bradan Baillie coming on.
Within five minutes Coleraine scored a well worked try. Having gained possession the pack rumbled over the line in face of determined defence, captain Steven Dickey claiming the touch-down and five points. Carstens was just wide with the difficult conversion angle. 8-0
Coleraine had a further penalty opportunity 18 minutes into the half. The long range effort from Adam Parke fell just short.
Five minutes later the visitors launched a vigorous attack on the Coleraine lines and again they were held out. This time a penalty was awarded to Ballymoney, in front of the posts, and James Campbell made no mistake for three points. 8-3
Coleraine made a number of rolling substitutions and finally Naill Irwin left the field with a leg injury.
With five minutes to go Coleraine were again pressing deep into opposition territory and yet again Ballymoney were penalised. This time Mikey Poskitt was on kicking duty and slotted the ball between the posts for three points. 11-3
Ballymoney attacked in the closing minutes but yet again the Coleraine defence was up to the task and there were no further scores. Coleraine 11-3 Ballymoney.
On Friday evening Coleraine Seconds took on Ballyclare Seconds in the Crawford Cup. Despite a sparkling try from Ali Irwin and a penalty from Cameron Jinks, the team lost out 15-7.
This weekend Coleraine Firsts entertain Lisburn 1s in the league and the Thirds are at home to Instonians 3s.
Coleraine First XV: D McCorkell, S Evans, S Jefferson, DD McAllister, W Hunt, S McLean, A Neely, S Dickey, B Carstens, A Parke, N Irwin, DD Andrews, P Roxborough, M Poskitt, B Cochrane. Extras: C Breadon, B Baillie