Christmas cheer for the Firsts

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COLERAINE got back to winning form on Saturday, coming out the better of a 17-7 score-line against Clogher Valley.

The result places Coleraine level with Clogher Valley on 25 points each at the mid-point of Section 1 of the Kukri qualifying league campaign. The result was welcomed at Coleraine, where fortunes had been rather mixed in recent games,

Speaking after the match head coach Richard Beggs said: “This was a great result coming on the back of our last game at Donaghadee. There have been some changes in training and that has come through to the pitch today, but we still have areas of concern and we will be working on those during the next weeks in training.

“The boys are working very well but we will now look forward to our next game away to Portadown. We will be looking for a big performance there.

“For now it is happy Christmas to all our players, officials and supporters and here’s to a successful season in 2013.”

In the match on Saturday Coleraine took the first points with a David Andrews’ penalty following a powerful surge from Coleraine after seven minutes.

Three more penalties followed as both sides probed and attacked, the visitors missing on 10 minutes, Coleraine on 26 minutes and ending with Andrews scoring from the halfway line just on the half hour.

As the half closed Coleraine were again attacking and Andrews took full advantage of the penalty award to claim another three points from 20 metres. The half-time score Coleraine 9-0 Clogher Valley.

The second half started briskly as the light faded and Coleraine’s Andrews missed a penalty from 30 metres within the first minute.

Clogher Valley scored two minutes later from a breakaway try after gaining possession on the halfway line and storming to score under the posts. The conversion brought the scoreline to 9-7.

Coleraine mounted a series of attacks, the forwards showing their superiority and providing the platform for attacking phases. Coleraine were given the opportunity of further points in a number of infringements by the visitors but the penalty attempts were just off-target.

With 30 minutes gone in the second half Andrews scored with a penalty after a period of intense Coleraine pressure. And five minutes later he was just wide with another attempt from 30 metres.

From the restart Coleraine went on the offensive, Andrews making an incisive break in mid-field and the ball going out to Colin Brown who made a forceful sprint on the wing to score in the corner. The conversion was just wide.

Clogher Valley came back in the final minutes but were unable to score despite some very strong attacking phases.

Coleraine were pleased with the 17-7 result, the victory being somewhat soured by captain Kenny Calladine leaving the field in the closing moments with a knee injury.

After the Christmas break Coleraine travel to Portadown on 29 December for what will a terrific battle against the Kukri league leaders.

On Boxing Day Coleraine Fourths are scheduled to play at Ballymoney for the Lenny Robinson Cup. Many club members are expected to attend the annual event and there will be entertainment afterwards in Coleraine Rugby Club, later in the afternoon.

Why not come along and meet old and new friends before and after the game.

Coleraine: A Treacey, S Evans, A Stirling, G Neely, W Chestnutt, S Douglas, J Cromie, K Calladine, P Roxborough, D Andrews, C Browne, N Patterson, S Patterson, Alex Gourley, B Cochrane. Subs: J Carey (A Teacey), J Henderson (J Cromie)