SCHOOLS RUGBY: Firsts go down at home to Regent

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On Saturday 8th September Coleraine Academical Institution 1st XV played host to Regent House without a number of key players due to injuries or Provincial duty.

It was the away side though that started the brighter. After a number of phases from the kick-off Regent House were awarded penalty forty metres out for an infringement. The number nine dually obliged. To their credit, Inst regrouped and after winning a turnover from the kick-off mounted pressure on the Regent defence but couldn’t find a way through.

After nine minutes Inst were awarded a penalty ten metres in from the sideline. Cameron Fulton’s effort just drifted left leaving the score 3-0 in favour of Regent. Inst started to get themselves into the game more and more and it showed with three penalties in the space of seven minutes. The third penalty was in range and from thirty-five metres out Cameron Fulton’s attempt all the posts just drifted right from a tight angle.

The play for the next fifteen minutes was very even with Regent having a slight advantage in territory. Regent built on this and after good pressure in defence, for the second week in a row, a dropped catch in the backs led to the out-half running in from fifty metres for a try for the away side. The conversion was a simple two points for the scrum-half and Regent led 10-0 after 25 minutes.

The sign of any good team is being able to respond straight away and that’s what Coleraine did. After a well worked turnover on the floor by the pack and after some great controlled phase play, Inst were on the board after a lovely timed arching line from Luke Scott saw him put through a yawning gap in the Regent defence by out-half Fulton.

The conversion was made and Coleraine were back in the game at 10-7. With this a few minutes later came the end of the half and with that the opportunity for Coleraine Academical Institution and Regent House to show their respects with a minute’s silence in memory of the late Noel, Graham and Nevin Spence.

The second half began slowly with both sides trying to get back into their patterns of play, but it was Regent who got the first points of the half after poor discipline in the ruck, forced a penalty in the forty-forth minute in front of the posts, which the scrum-half easy kicked. This kick started what would be a very poor twenty minute period. In this time poor decision making and with errors starting to creep into the Inst game a critical moments allowed the away side to score three tries, none of which were converted, without reply.

Coleraine did still show character and determination which never left, and were rewarded on the sixty-eighth minute with a penalty try after a number of well controlled phases of play and the Regent House back rower attempting to try and slow the ball down. The conversion was made leaving the scores at 23-14 with a couple of minutes to play.

From the restart Inst used the ball well and a break down the wing from Callum Wallace put the Coleraine side on the front row and after good work from Jordan Neely and Kieran Burns in the loose lead to the home side forcing Regent onto their own line with a try on the cards only to have the ball knocked on by Captain Nick Logan typifying the home side’s performance.

Coleraine Inst played well in parts with mistakes at key times resulting in conceding points. Coach Mark Palmer will be happy to see the fifth former half-back partnership of Bruce Campbell and Cameron Fulton looking much more at ease at the step up in level, as well as the overall performance of a 1st XV which is currently missing a number of experienced players and started with eight fifth formers. Stand out performers this week were Thomas Pethick, Luke Scott and Cameron Fulton all doing well in their respective roles.