RUGBY: Coleraine edge out students

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In the inaugural derby against the University of Coleraine, it was the Coleraine town side that took the honours.

The University side were promoted to Section 1 of the Kukri Junior Qualifying League this season and have been finding it difficult to adjust. They put in a fine display at the weekend but in the end it was Coleraine that came out on top at 26-11 and claimed their second bonus point of the season.

Speaking after the game Coleraine captain Kenny Calladine was pleased with the performance. He said: “It was a strong performance today and we are really happy with the result.

“The bonus point was the icing on the cake and it could be very important as the year goes on. We got the lineout functioning better today, scrums were better and the backs were great yet again

“We have a week off now but our next game, entertaining Ballymoney on 5 October, will be a big one for us. They are unbeaten this season and it is going to be a big ask for the boys but I am sure we will rise to the occasion and make a good game of it.”

The game itself saw the Gourley brothers make their mark on the Coleraine side. Alan scored with two tries and also had kicking duties for the day. Younger brother Alex was not to be outdone and also nabbed a try. The final bonus point try went to Jarleth Carey.

There was a good crowd of spectators watching on as the teams lined up for a minutes silence as a tribute to the Spence family.

The first points of the game came from the University outhalf Thompson on 12 minutes. As the visitors attacked he found himself in front of the posts and calmly slotted the ball between the posts.

With 18 minutes gone Alan Gourley capitalised on strong forwards work, scything through the opposition with a jinking run, evading tackles and scoring. He then converted to take the lead, 7-3.

Less than ten minutes later Alan was again in action, neatly sidestepping two defenders to score in the corner. The difficult conversion was only inches wide.

Just before the break the University made sure of three more points after being awarded a penalty, 25 metres out. The half time score was 12-6 to Coleraine

As the second half got under way the visitors took the initiative and scrum half Bailey darted across the line for a try. The conversion was off-target.

Two minutes later Coleraine launched a strong push for the University lines. Alex Gourley was on hand to finish the attack, evading all attempts to tackle him and scoring under the posts. Alan converted.

As the half continued Neil Patterson came on for Brian Cochrane and Russell Smyth came on for injured Josh Christie.

The University launched a series of attacks and tested the resolve of the Coleraine defence.

As the game drew towards a close, Coleraine tried hard to get the bonus point try. It came near the end with the forwards rumbling across the line and Jarleth Carey touching down for the points. Alan Gourley was again on target and claimed the extras. The final score was 26-11 to Coleraine.

Coleraine now have a week off as the Junior Cup games are played. Next up is Ballymoney and the prospect of a very exciting and closely fought encounter at Sandel Lodge.

In other matches the Seconds travelled to Carrick and won 5-20. The U19s won 10-5 against Dungannon.

Coleraine First XV: J Carey, M Hunter, A McLaughlin, J Christie, D Ramage, S Douglas, J Cromie, K Calladine, S Caithness, Alan Gourley, J Henderson, B Cochrane, S Patterson, N Irwin, Alex Gourley. Subs: N Patterson, R Smyth.