Coleraine Inst Medallion travelled to Roughfort playing fields to take on BRA on Saturday morning and despite the poor weather throughout the week the pitch was in good condition and the weather was set fair for an exciting game.
The team got off to a great start with a very well worked team try in the opening minutes of the match. Several strong carries from the pack opened up holes in the BRA defence and great interplay by the backs led to a try in the corner which Zach Hutchison converted.
BRA responded straight away with a try of their own. Following a long kick downfield a Coleraine player knocked on in his own 22 handing the BRA side a scrum.
From the set piece the impressive BRA centre, who joined from Belfast High School in the summer, strolled through some weak midfield tackling to score under the posts, leaving the score seven points all.
Coleraine continued to play on the front foot but on several occasions lost key possession at the breakdown. Poor decision making and lack of precision with their carries led to a number of turnovers.
From one of these turnovers BRA broke away and moved the ball well through the backs to score another try. Unfortunately a clear obstruction on a Coleraine winger was missed by the referee in the build up to the try. This left the score 12-7 at half time.
The second half was equally as frustrating as the first with Coleraine continuing to put the pressure on the BRA side, but poor execution and interesting refereeing decisions halted any momentum the side built up.
Coleraine could not turn this pressure into points and this ultimately cost them in relation to the result. The Coleraine side must be more precise in future games to ensure they get the results they deserve.
Overall the result was disappointing for this Medallion side who have made excellent progress since they began training back in August.
The boys did however show great maturity in how they conducted themselves on the pitch against a very physical side who were assisted by poor refereeing decisions and a partisan crowd.
This will be a great learning experience for the squad and will no doubt stand them in good stead when the Medallion Shield comes around in late January.
The coaches are very proud of their side, who will no doubt bounce back in training this week and be stronger for this experience.
The U14s had a tough day at the office, with both the A and B teams beaten by BRA.
The A team were decimated by injuries and call ups to the medallion and found it tough going against a strong BRA outfit who scored three first half tries due to some powderpuff tackling.
The second half was much the same with Inst struggling to get any continuity. BRA scored three more tries with one converted. Inst did fight back and scored two superb tries. The first from a barnstorming Matthew Mooney run and the second by Neil Graham who ran in an excellent try after fantastic work by Jamie Kirkpatrick and Alex Hegarty.
Mooney, Kirkpatrick and Hegarty were superb throughout and battled right to the end.
The B team were beaten 24-10 by BRA. Warren McKessick scored a fantastic solo try and skipper Varun Chropra also got on the scoresheet.
Jason O’Halloran was superb in the forwards and carried the ball powerfully from the first to the last minute. It was great to see Andrew White back playing his first game of rugby since September and he will play an important role in he coming months.
A disappointing day for both teams, but with 12 players unavailable for selection both teams can hold their heads high and know that with a full squad the result would he very different.
It was also a day to forget for all those associated with the Under-13 A’s.
They were well beaten by a hardworking, committed BRA team. The Coleraine lads just didn’t turn up.
Maybe they had one eye on the upcoming Christmas holidays but they gifted possession and points throughout the game.
A flat, disappointing start, which saw the CAI lads concede the first try from poor ruck defence, was capped off by what appeared to be a bad injury to influential Hooker Johnny McKee.
The loss of their team-mate, seemed to briefly galvanise the away side and after their only real period of controlled possession Conor Potts scored in the left corner.
However, this well worked try failed to awaken the Coleraine lads from their collective slumber and they were soon back to dispensing gifts.
Four more try’s were wrapped and duly placed under the posts before the referee, clearly conscious of the dangers of spoiling children with too many presents, packed both teams off to the changing rooms.
Final score 29-5.
Saturday was yet another very encouraging day for Year 8 rugby at CAI.
All three teams who faced Belfast Royal Academy came away with impressive victories and it is testament to the depth of talent in Year 8 that we could have fielded another squad of players had there been another opposition team to play.
The match for the ‘A team was highly competitive but they came away worthy winners, 35-25.
Tries came from both forwards and backs with both Callum Wallace and Cameron Leighton scoring a brace.
Work could be done to improve our protection of the ball at the breakdown but it was still a well deserved victory.
The ‘B team completed an emphatic victory in their match. They were dominant in all areas of the pitch and recorded a 13 tries to nil scoreline. It was very encouraging to see over half the team getting on the score sheet!
Standout performances were from Reuben Hutchinson, who scored four tries and Scott Milligan who managed to add six conversions to the final score tally. Well done boys!
The ‘C team completed the rout, winning 40-15. Man of the match was Liam Webb who gave a master-class in strong running with the ball, managing to score four tries – very well done.
Meanwhile, at the Ulster Schools’ Swimming Championships in Ballymena the CAI team put in some excellent performances in both the team and individual events.
In the junior age category Alister Telfer sprinted his way to the 50m breaststroke final in a new personal best time. Scott Kennedy and Andrew White gained personal best times in both their individual events and year 8 swimmers Ben Scott, Reece Frazer and Andrew King all competed very well against older swimmers in the u14 age group. The junior A and B relay teams competed well against the top schools in the province with the A team unlucky to finish just outside the medals.
The intermediate team’s hard training paid off with a number of medal winning performances. James Richardson gained a silver and bronze medal in the very hotly contested 50m freestyle and butterfly finals and Michael Evans just missed out on a gold medal in a very close 50m backstroke final. In the relay events CAI won silver medals in both the medley and freestyle team races, just missing out to RBAI for gold.