Disappointment for the Firsts with two defeats in a week

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It has been another testing week for Coleraine Rugby Club with two league games and only a losing bonus point as reward.

The first game on Wednesday night saw the Bannsiders take on Portadown, lying second in the league, and after a very credible performance they had to settle for the bonus point following a hard fought 0-7 game.

On Saturday the side travelled to Dromore where they came away the worst of a 36-14 scoreline.

Coleraine coach Richard Beggs reviewed a harsh week for his players. He said: “We have been paying the price for a lot of injuries and I have to again thank all the players who have come forward and put in some great performances.

“On Wednesday we took the game to Portadown and it looked on several occasions that we might have secured a win but we just couldn’t get over the line. It was a strong performance from the lads.

“On Saturday we were again light because of injuries and a lot of players were actually carrying injuries on the day. Everyone put in a strong performance but Dromore were just too big and strong for us on the day.

“There were some superb individual performances in both games and Andy Neely was the standout player on Saturday, showing total commitment and effort.

“Now we have only one game left, a re-arranged league match away to CIYMS on April 5. No matter the result, it will still leave us second last in the league.

“We then have to watch developments in the Junior League playoffs and associated games which will determine our fate for next season.

“This week the guys will be resting up and giving some of the injuries time to recover. It has been a hard season and the injury attrition rate has really tested the limits and depths of the squad and the players.”

Against Portadown the Coleraine side showed sound defensive skills and attacking flair but despite some very enterprising attacks they just lacked the finishing touches to bring about a win.

The losing bonus point was scant reward for the mighty effort put in by all the players.

In Dromore, Coleraine lost out 36-14 against a much heavier side.

The first half saw Coleraine miss out on two potential scores but in the second half they performed much more strongly with Conor Simpson, playing at No8, scoring, followed by a great Andrew Neely try, both converted by Bokkie Carstens.

The final match against CIYMS is scheduled for April 5.

On Saturday Coleraine Thirds continued their strong performance this season with a 19-10 victory over Portadown Thirds.