RUGBY: Defences on top as the sides share the spoils

The Fourth’s second game of the season was against a strong Randalstown Seconds side.

The result, a scoreless draw, was a cosequence of the teams being evenly balanced in all aspects of the game and the fact that the defensive qualities of both sides were superior to their attacking qualities. This was no boring draw and both teams came away feeling they could and should have won.

The first quarter of the match was scrappy and strewn with mistakes. Moves broke down through handling errors, though twice towards the end of the half centre Steve Callaghan was stopped just short of the line after good back line moves.

Randalstown too had their moments and came close to scoring right on half time but out half Ian Young’s relieving kick cleared the danger.

The second half was more of the same. Randalstown missed an early penalty, which remarkably was to be the only kick at goal by either side in the whole match. Coleraine then had second row Luke Beattie sin binned for an offence which was known only to the referee and twenty minutes from time the visitors lost a player to injury.

The home side strived to take advantage of this but the visitors simply defended all the harder and produced some of their best rugby of the match. The best of the Fourth’s chances fell to Callaghan again when he just failed to hold on to the final pass of a move that would have put him through and to wing Harry Tait who also just failed to gather his own chip and chase towards the line.

Full back Peter McGinley almost outsped the defence but he was bundled into touch just short of the line. The game ended with Coleraine pressing and Randalstown resolutely holding out for a deserved share of the points.

Although handling errors in the back line were a frustrating aspect of the team’s display, credit must be given to the pack who matched their opponents in the scrum, lineout and especially in the loose where their strong tackling and mobility about the pitch ensured that Randalstown’s chances were few and far between.