Firsts fall to league leaders

Coleraine First XV made the long journey to Portadown at the weekend but, despite valiant efforts from the entire team, they were unable to get the better of the league leaders.

The scoreline, 36-12 to the home side, does not reflect the effort and commitment shown by Coleraine. Players and coaches alike were dismayed by the result but pleased with the overall performance.

Coleraine coach, Richard Beggs said: “To some extent we were the architects of our own downfall.

“The pack in played really well providing great scrums and rucks, but we were let down by some of our first time tackling and Portadown exploited that.

“There are positives to be taken. We played some very good rugby against the top side in the league.

“Now we are targeting the Dromore match this week and Cooke the following week.

“Both are home fixtures and we will be looking for good results. We are still aiming for a top four finish to the league.

“The guys are buoyant and they are really up for it. There is a positive camaraderie in the squad and we will be channelling that into the games.”

In the match itself, with five minutes on the clock, Portadown opened the scoring with a converted try and with continuing the pressure, ten minutes later scored another, this time not converted.

Coleraine then had a period of control, pinning Portadown in their own 22, creating opportunities from scrums and rucks, but basic handling errors lost the chance to score.

On 30 minutes things did come together and Paul Roxborough was able to creep over the line following a five-metre scrum, securing a converted try.

Coleraine hopes of a recovery were soon dashed when Portadown scored in the corner straight from the kick-off for another five points. To really secure their position, just on the blow for half time, the home side broke away and scored under the posts, leaving the score 24-7 at the break.

Five minutes into the second half the Portadown scrum half intercepted and punished a poor Coleraine pass in their own 22 and scampered away to score a converted try.

With ten minutes left to play Coleraine’s David Andrews made a fantastic break, cutting through the Portadown defence before passing to Niall Irwin who raced in for the try.

In the closing period Coleraine’s Arnie Hogg was shown a yellow card in an incident which unusually also saw Coleraine awarded a penalty. Portadown took full advantage of their superior numbers and scored a late unconverted try to end the match 36-12.

This weekend Coleraine entertain Dromore in the Kukri Junior League. It is the first home game this year and a large crowd of spectators is expected.

It should be a thrilling encounter and Coleraine will be out there working hard, looking for a win.