Coleraine travelled to Belfast on Saturday where they bettered the freezing weather and a difficult Grosvenor side to seal a bonus point win.
The result maintains second place in the league and moves the ‘Cookstown’ sponsored Bannsiders that little bit closer to leaders Carrick. The leaders had a win as well, with no bonus, but still have a game in hand.
It was a difficult fixture which saw both sides face biting cold and wintry showers but in the end of the day Coleraine produced a dominant performance in the second half to make sure of the win. The extra point could be very important when the season comes to an end in April.
Speaking after the game head coach Richard Boyd said: “We are very pleased to get a bonus point win away from home against a dogged Grosvenor side that has caused us problems in both games this season.
“In the forwards I thought Brian Hughes led from the front and had another excellent performance. Dijon McCorkell also stood out with some strong runs throughout the game.
“In the backs Andrew McKnight had a really good game as well. Andrew scored a good try, worked hard all day for the side and has really come on as a player and leader this season.
“We had to really dog it out and we know we need to play much better over the coming weeks if we want to push for promotion.
“We now have two massive games against Randalstown (6 Feb) and Enniskillen (20 Feb) and if we get points from both those games we will be there or thereabouts come April time.”
As the match got underway, Grosvenor had the first chance for points less than five minutes in but saw the 30 metre penalty attempt fall short of the posts. Both sides settled in with a series of attacks, Grosvenor having the better opportunities but were unable to capitalise on them.
With 23 minutes on the clock Coleraine lost possession at the lineout but in the subsequent phases Andy McKnight managed to regain possession in the loose before breaking away to sprint more than half the pitch and score under the posts. Mikey Poskitt made sure of the extras. 0-7
As the half drew to a close Grosvenor came close on the wing, chipping forward but losing possession into touch.
The second half saw Grosvenor coming out strongly and after ten minutes they were able to capitalise on a Coleraine penalty to claim three points from a 20-metre conversion into the wind. 3-7
From the restart Coleraine charged forward and secured possession, the ball moving swiftly to Bokkie Carstens to sidestep his way to the line and a try. Poskitt converted. 3-14
With half an hour of the half gone DD McAllister stole the ball in a Grosvenor lineout, setting up the backs in a determined attack, culminating in Coleraine captain, Mikey Poskitt, crossing the line to score and then convert. 3-21
Within five minutes Coleraine were again on the offensive as the forwards created phase after phase of attack in the corner. The ball was then released across the backs and Josh Christie, playing out of position at No12, crashed through the defence to score between the posts. Poskitt did his work and converted, bringing the final score to 3-28 and securing another bonus point.
In the weekend’s other fixture Coleraine Seconds lost out to CIYMS, 20-31.
This week Coleraine Firsts entertain Randalstown in the league. This will be a stern test for Richard Boyd’s men who lost out in the first meeting earlier in the season.