Coleraine First XV are still very much in the title race after an emphatic win at Donaghadee in the league on Saturday.
The conditions were ideal for running rugby which suited the youthful and pacy visitors from the North West and at the final whistle the scoreline of Donaghadee 14-52 Coleraine saw the visitors claim four valuable league points plus a winning bonus point.
Coleraine were missing a number of regulars including Dijon McCorkell, Daniel Ramage, Greg Neely, Brian Hughes, Cameron Fulton and Brian Cochrane due to injuries and unavailability which meant that playing resources were stretched to the limit.
The squad were delighted to hand three debuts to John Rankin, who has had an outstanding season with the club under 18s, David Greatorex who captained the school 1stXV and promising tight-head prop Mac O’Neil.
Coleraine started the match slowly and found themselves a converted try down inside the first couple of minutes after a well placed kick and chase from the home side caught out the Coleraine back three.
Coleraine responded in excellent fashion with some great running rugby and this led to tries from Andrew McKnight, Mikey Poskitt and David Greatorex to take a well deserved 24-7 lead into the interval. Coleraine will be delighted with the tempo they played at and with the link play shown between the backs and forwards.
The only negative from the first half were some the cheap penalties and Ill-discipline shown by the Coleraine side which eventually led to a yellow card for inside centre Andrew McKnight.
Coleraine started the second half with great intensity. Donaghadee couldn’t live with the pace of the backs and the urgency they displayed in their game.
The visitors ran in another four converted tries scored by Cameron Jinks, Alan Clarke and two from Mikey Poskitt. Coleraine showed better discipline in the second half and their superior fitness levels gave them a real edge.
Donaghadee scored a consolation try with the last play of the game bringing the final score to 52-14.
Forwards coach Stephen Douglas will be delighted with the performance of his pack with the scrum and lineout providing the backs with an excellent platform to play from. Stuart Evans, DD McAllister, Aidy Nevin and David Greatorex all stood out on the day.
The backline looked to be returning to form and enjoyed playing in better overhead conditions than in recent weeks. Alan Clarke was at his devastating best with numerous line breaks and counter attacks setting up a number of tries in a superb individual display.
Cameron Jinks controlled the pace of the game well from scrum half and the rest of the backline looked sharp and hungry throughout the game. Mikey Poskitt had an excellent game with the boot converting all seven tries and a long range penalty.
Overall this was an impressive display by the visiting team against a side Coleraine have struggled to beat in quite a few seasons and the crucial bonus point was also secured.