CAI produce great show to see off Ballymena

Mac O'Neill on the charge for CAI.
Mac O'Neill on the charge for CAI.

COLERAINE Inst First XV entertained their Ballymena Academy counterparts on Saturday and recorded a good win.

CAI were quickest out of the blocks and they opened the scoring on 10 minutes. They got over the gain line after a quick lineout this set up Callum Smith who carved his way through the defence before offloading a clever pass to Conor Shiels who raced away to touch down. The extras were converted.

Shiels added another three points five minutes later as the visitors were penalised for offside.

Shiels fired in another penalty attempt on 20 minutes, this time though it came back off the post, however second row James Bleakly reacted quickest to recover the ball and score under the posts. Shiels converted.

Ballymena rallied but they were finding it tough to break through a strong CAI defence. However they did score a penalty just before the break to make it 17-3 at half time.

They added another penalty just after the restart, but that was as good as it got for them. Shiels added another try for Inst when a quick feed up the blind side by Ryan Gillan allowed the captain to score in the corner. He added the extras.

On 62 minutes a poor clearance kick from Ballymena allowed CAI to go through several phases of play and some excellent carries and off loads by Thomas Pethick and Olly McDowell led to winger Jake Scott scoring in the corner. Shiels missed the conversion to leave the final score 29-6.

This was an outstanding result from the lads against the side ranked third in Ulster this year. Best wishes go to James Bleakly for a speedy recovery after his knee injury.

Man of the match: Oliver McDowell

The Second XV also recorded an excellent win over Ballymena.

The match could not have started better for CAI with wave after wave of attack which resulted in a superb try by winger Alross Alejo after eight minutes.

Inst continued to control the game but handling errors and a number of penalties cost them a number of scoring opportunities.

Ballymena got a foothold in the game from a long range penalty as it approached half time and immediately before the break they took the lead with their first meaningful attack.

In the second half Coleraine continued to do most of the pressing with forwards dominating the Ballymena pack and out half Andrew Wisener pulling strings in the back line.

Paddy Chambers finished off an excellent team try in the corner just avoiding the touch line. Wisener slotted the conversion to make it 14-10.

Luke Scott, starting at 12 for the first time this season, almost scored in the same corner only to clip the touchline. Bradden Baillie was then tackled just short of the line and although he placed the ball the referee adjudged him to half made a double movement. CAI deservedly held on for the win.

The Thirds made it an impressive hat-trick with a comprehensive win over Ballymena.

It was a very physical encounter and both sides fought well from the start but it was the home side which opened the scoring with a great try from Marc Welsh.

The second try came from Adam Alexander following some slick handling. Ballymena got one of their own when they chased a kick and managed to intercept a wayward pass.

The CAI forwards continued to impress and delivered good possession from the set piece. They rumbled toward the Ballymena side’s line and eventually it was Danny Anderson who showed good strength to force his way over.

Joel Heggarty barged his way through for the next following some excellent rucking from a lineout. Not to be outdone the backs didn’t squander the good ball they were getting and Conor Skuce was the next to speed his way over the line.

Ballymena managed to get one back but then it was Adam Alexander’s time to show some elusive footwork and score a try.

At half time some changes were made to the team and Ballymena were first to score after the break with an opportunistic try. However, this was followed by some excellent football skills from Jake King who dribbled the ball over the line to score another try.

Ballymena continued to compete at the breakdown but Matthew Dinsmore, James Topping and others showed good determination to keep them at bay. Joel Heggarty capped an excellent performance with his second try before Danny Irons went on the rampage and scored one of his own.

Ballymena scored again before Matthew Smyth scythed through the opposition again providing a second try for Adam Alexander. Conor Skuce finished the day with his second try.

The score was 61-19 when Davy Boyd blew the final whistle. The team had performed admirably and it is obvious that the training sessions are beginning to pay off.

As the season progresses the biggest problem is for Mr Stewart and Mr Patterson as they decide on their team selection for the 3rd XV cup.