Coleraine Inst 1st XV make the arduous journey to Enniskillen on Saturday for this week’s fixture against Portora Royal School.
With horrendous conditions to say the least and poor stability under foot, it was clear from the off that the winner of this game was going to be the one who won the battle up front.
It was the away side who started the brightest despite only having 25 minutes to warm up and after concerted pressure in the opposition 22, Captain and Number 8 Nick Logan barged his way over from five metres for the opening score inside five minutes. Shiels converted the try to give the away side a 7-0 lead. Inst continued to pressure the home side and after out-half Shiels stepped and placed the ball on the line, the referee made a somewhat dubious decision and called for a knock-on against the Inst number 10.
Five minutes later Portora got their hands on the ball for their first real chance of the game and after poor discipline from the Coleraine side, they were punished with a try by the home side, able to push their way over from close range which was converted. The rest of the half was a very close encounter with Inst spurning a number of good chances because poor decisions mixed with poor conditions. But it was in the last play of the first half that Inst were able to get the ball within 10 metres of the home side’s line and after a number of very good pick and go moves, Ryan Boyd was on hand to dot down in the corner to give the Inst the lead once again.
After a talk from Coach Richard Beggs, Inst started the second half brilliantly winning three penalties in as many minutes, the third of which was put into the Portora 22. From the resulting line-out, the Inst pack rallied and drove 10 metres over the line was Prop Ryan Boyd on hand once again to score his second try of the game. Shiels missed the conversion but the Inst lead increased to 17-7. Portora not to be undone came right back at Inst and 15 minutes after the previous try a nicely timed pass from a Portora player saw their impressive 12 break through some weak tacking from Shiels and Crowe to score under the posts. The Portora out-half then reduced the arrears to leave the scoreline 17-14 in favour of Inst with 20 minutes to play.
From then on Inst had the lion’s share of possession and used to good effect with a quick tap from a penalty from scrum-half Kidd, releasing Shiels who fixed his man and threw a 20 yard pass to the wing were Peter Acheson ran in for Coleraine’s fourth try of the game and with a conversion from Shiels, the score was 24-14 to Inst with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The away side’s defence held strong for the remainder of the game with Portora unable to find away through the Coleraine defence. Full-Time Portora 14-24 Coleraine Inst.
Star men for in were Captain Nick Logan, Lock Thomas Pethick and Daniel McAllister with another impressive performance in his new-found front row position. Also, a mention to Jake Scott who had a great game on his debut for the 1st XV both in attack and defence.