Coleraine moved to the second round of the Junior Cup with a seven point win over Dungannon Seconds on Saturday.
As was expected, it was a difficult encounter and Coleraine worked hard for the win with the defence being well tested as the game to an end. There were a number of changes to the locals team’s line-up for the match and the new look side quickly settled in for a well rounded performance.
Speaking after the match Coleraine coach Richard Beggs said: “This was a great result for us and keeps us in the Junior Cup. We had quite a few changes in the side this week and all credit to the boys, they put their hands up and gave a great performance.
“Archie Kettyle and Kenny Calladine coming back brought a lot of experience to the side. We also had new faces such as Stephen Best making a big impact and the pairing of Bokkie Carstens and Mikey Poskitt in the centre worked very well.
“It was another strong team performance and we seem to be getting better week on week.
“I was also pleased to hear that the Dungannon player who was taken to hospital has been given the all-clear and we wish him a speedy recovery.
“This weekend we have another big game with our second local derby, this time against the University. They had a big win in the Cup at the weekend and they will be keen to get the better of us. It will be a tight game.”
Coleraine, sponsored by ‘Cookstown’, got the first score after six minutes in the Dungannon match. Alex McAuley made the first break after Coleraine won the ball against the head in their own half.
Gaston surged from the next ruck, feeding Bokkie Carstens whose break was stopped short of the line.
Andy McKnight was on hand as the ball came out of the ruck and he charged over for the try. Carstens converted. 7-0
The second try went to the visitors. A Coleraine clearance in their own 22 was charged down and led to a penalty. Dungannon took a quick tap, caught Coleraine unawares, and scored an unconverted try. 7-5
Just before the break Coleraine scored again. The move started with Nicky Blair fielding the ball and stepping inside the defence before going to ground.
From the ruck Mikey Poskitt made a clever break into the Dungannon 22, off-loading to captain Stephen Douglas for the score. The conversion went just wide. 12-5
Immediately from the restart Coleraine went on the attack, Kenny Calladine breaking, feeding Douglas and then Stuart Evans who was stopped just short of the line.
From the ruck Carstens charged over the line from 10 metres out, scoring under the posts and then converting. 19-5
In the latter stages Carstens scored three points from a penalty whilst Dungannon created a well worked try, a conversion and a penalty to leave the score 22-15. Coleraine lost Aaron Gaston to a yellow card with 13 minutes to go.
As the game entered the last few minutes a visiting player was injured in a tackle as Dungannon pressured the Coleraine defence. The match was delayed for almost half an hour as he was taken to hospital and thankfully it has been reported that he was later released.
The match restarted with a Dungannon push but Coleraine got possession and cleared to touch to end the game and progress to the next round of the Junior Cup.
This weekend Coleraine entertain close neighbours University of Ulster, Coleraine, in the league. It should be an entertaining fixture and the players will be hoping for a big turnout of support.
In the only other match at the weekend Coleraine Seconds lost away to Omagh Seconds.
Coleraine First XV. S Best, S Evans, A Gaston, S McClean (Hunter), D Ramage, A Neely, S Douglas, K Calladine, A Kettyle, B Carstens, M Poskitt, A McKnight, A McAuley, N Blair (Van Wyk), B Cochrane. Subs T Van Wyk, M Hunter