RUGBY: Good start for the Youth Section

COLERAINE RFC Youth section were on the road to Portadown on Saturday for the first league encounter of the new season and came away with great wins for U15s and U17s, but defeat for an understrength novice U13s squad, there was no game for U19s.

U15s Portadown 5 Coleraine 60

An impressive start by this talented U15 Coleraine squad who are growing in strength, showing that they mean business this season by simply trouncing their opposition in their own backyard. By remaining in the Portadown half for 70% of the fixture, this young side, bristling with talent and future potential, set down a marker for the games to come.

Their reward came with an impressive tally of 10 trys and five successful conversions. Try scorers were from No 8 Josh Devenney (6mins) converted by Centre Bradley Barbour, Full Back Mathew Jackson (MOM) (15mins) converted by Bradley Barbour, (half back) Graham McAleese (25mins) converted by Bradley Barbour, Centre Bradley Barbour (30 mins). Half Back Paddy Kane (40 mins), Centre James Breslin (45 mins), Flanker Timmy (50 mins), Kyle Walker (59mins) converted Graham McAleese, Centre James Breslin (63 mins) converted Graham Mcaleese, Centre Bradley Barbour (70 mins).

Portadown unfortunately lost an influential out half to injury towards the start of the game and Coleraine players and staff wish him a speedy recovery. Brilliant first up tackling from Coleraine meant Portadown were on the back foot for most of the game and forced to defend against a persistent Coleraine side who were strong in all positions.

Standing out were Bradley Barbour in kicking, prop Niall Hunter’s aggressive in scrum, Mathew Jackson as MOM and Graham McAleese in versatility and kicking and in managing to switch from scrum half to wing allowing John Allen to take on the role for the second half.

U17s Portadown 12 Coleraine 20

Like the U15s this strong U17s side got their league off to an impressive start by beating a stiff Portadown opposition. In perfect playing conditions, Coleraine started best and pressed their hosts back to their 22m for the first 15 minutes, only narrowly failing to capitalise on a number of scoring opportunities. Portadown responded well and cashed in with the first try of the game (converted) through Coleraine gifting them a series of penalties combined with some frail tackling.

This prompted a swift and aggressive reply from Coleraine with a makeshift front row of Ross Wade, Alister Jinks and Rory Douglas manfully taking on a larger Portadown pack with Back Row new boy Reece Ramage, Captain Callum McAleese and Ryan Purdy outplaying their bigger counterpart. With good hands Coleraine’s back line saw Full Back Stephen Douglas receive ball and run some 50m to score in the Portadown corner to reduce the lead by two. Just before half time Coleraine took the lead through a well executed penalty kick by Centre Sam Beattie to send the visitors into HT with the score 7-8.

The second half was largely controlled by Coleraine with man of the match, No 8 Ryan Purdy immense throughout and managing to steal loads of ball from the ruck, backed up with some big tackles. Next up for Coleraine was Flanker Reece Ramage to pick a loose ball and score from a 30m sprint. Portadown picked themselves up and came back their opposition to score despite stout Coleraine defending.

With only one point in it in Coleraine’s favour it was time to throw everything into winning the game and that is exactly what the Coleraine 17s did. A great Centre partnership of Alister Irwin and Stephen Douglas virtually destroyed their opposite numbers and it was Alister Irwin to take possess from a late scrummage in the centre of the park to brilliantly side-step his way over the Portadown try line to take Coleraine to a well deserved final scoreline of 12-20.

Coaches were quick to praise a great performance from his talented U17 team and special mention was made of Winger Chrissey Boreland’s move to second row and superb rucking after Adam Howard’s injury.

U13s Portadown 42 Coleraine 5

Sadly the Coleraine U13s were no match for an experienced Portadown side and their very first competitive game in the league left them knowing the level at which they have to be at for the games ahead. The young novice team had to travel with an understrength squad, meaning that they had to concede points to Portadown and took the much needed match experience. Coaches had nothing but praise or the young players who bravely worked hard to match their opponents.

With lots of new faces in the U13 team drawn from local schools, the Club is already seeing the fruits of their newly appointed CCRO Daniel McAuley’s work and everyone in the Youth Section is eagerly anticipating great things from this fledgling squad as they continue to benefit from training and match experience.

All in all their is a great buzz about the Coleraine Youth Camp as the sides build and develop under a strengthened Coaching team. There is clearly much more to come as Coleraine Rugby Club builds for the future.

All squads away to Lisburn this week with the first home game to Newry on 20th October. Training as usual for all youth squads Monday and Wednesday nights 7pm sharp.