After last week’s stalemate in the cup, Coleraine Twos got back to winning ways in league action last Saturday, maintaining good form with a comfortable victory over Cooke Twos in a potentially tricky away fixture at Shaw’s Bridge in Belfast.
Coleraine began the game strongly, and soon put siege to the Cooke line. Eventually the home team conceded the penalty, but instead of opting for the three points, scrum half Nicky Blair took a surprise quick tap and crossed the whitewash after a strong hand-off on the Cooke full back.
Alan Gourley added the extras to put Coleraine seven points to the good. Thinking the flood-gates were going to open, Coleraine then lost concentration and discipline for a while and gave away a few needless penalties that Cooke converted to close the gap to just a point.
However Coleraine got their game head on again and put a few good phases of play together to gain good field position in the Cooke half Nicky Blair was at the centre of the second Coleraine try, when he broke through following a lineout before giving the scoring pass to Alex Gourley to finish well.
Alan Gourley missed the conversion but Coleraine went in for the half time oranges and pep talk leading 12-6.
Alan Gourley extended the lead with a penalty goal and the game was put beyond Cooke with Coleraine’s the third (and probably best) try of the afternoon.
Winger Stevie Callaghan made a cracking break down the right, possession was quickly recycled and the ball was spun all the way out to the left wing where Alan Gourley was loitering to score in the corner.
Cooke went for broke and did everything to score but only came up against a wall of hard Coleraine tackling. Coleraine scored their fourth try when the Cooke 10 presented a cross-field kick straight into the waiting hands of full-back Paul Shiels, who waltzed his way home from the half way line, evading dozens of Cooke tackles along the way.
Alan Gourley popped over another conversion for Coleraine, and eventually the game petered out with Coleraine worthy winners by 26 points to 6.
A fairly reasonably performance from the 2s who maintain pole position in Junior 1. With only five more league games remaining, it looks like it will be a straight battle between Coleraine and Ballynahinch for the title and any slip-ups from now until the end of the season could prove costly.