Coleraine Inst First XV hosted a strong Ballymena side on Saturday with both teams having excellent starts to the 2011 season.
The Academy started the better of the two teams with a simple try created by excellent backline play as a result of the weak tackles put in by the home side. The try was converted.
CAI then returned with a vengeance but due to another error in defence this lead to an additional try which came from the Ballymena winger. This was unconverted.
Ballymena continued to dominate the rest of the first half through great forward play, with CAI defence tested to the limit. Any error by CAI resulted in a score and by half time; Ballymena had added an additional 10 points.
With what must have been a great team talk at half time, CAI started with much more aggression and determination. After a number of phases and strong forward play, flanker Joe Livingstone crashed over to score for Inst.
Unfortunately CAI was unable to hold onto the ball after the restart and Ballymena scored under the posts, which was easily converted.
The remainder of the game saw both sides evenly matched, with no scores at either end. Impressive defence performances by Joe Livingstone, Michael Poskitt and Nick Logan ensured that the score line remained respectable.
In order to compete next week against RBAI, CAI must start the first 20 minutes the same way they finished the second half against Ballymena.
Inst Medallion travelled down to face Ballymena Academy on Saturday. The Coleraine side had just come off three convincing wins, but knew that Ballymena would provide tougher opposition.
The Inst team found themselves defending for the first ten minutes with Ballymena retaining possession through a succession of Coleraine errors. After ten minutes of tough defending, Ballymena eventually broke through; going over for the first try of the game. This was converted, giving Ballymena a 7-0 lead.
Coleraine came back looking for some possession but couldn’t get their hands on the ball. A penalty in the Coleraine 22 gave Ballymena a chance to go further ahead as they slotted a penalty through the posts.
When Coleraine got their hands on the ball they did look dangerous, but the well-drilled Ballymena side kept them off their line. Close to the end of the first half, Ballymena yet again went over the Coleraine line, this went converted giving Ballymena a 17-0 lead at half time.
Coleraine started the second half well with Richardson threatening to break the line. Two early injuries in the second half saw Bonnar and Graham leaving the field within ten minutes of each other. Academy’s number eight again went over the line, the try was converted and Ballymena led 24-0.
Coleraine came back with strong runs and eventually Richardson broke through the tough Ballymena defence and went over for Coleraine’s first try of the game. This went unconverted. Academy came back with threatening runs and after endless defending they went over once more giving them a 31-5 lead.
Despite the setback, Coleraine went over for their second try scored by Wallace under the posts. The game ended 31-12 to Ballymena.
Coleraine will be looking to reverse this disappointing result in a few weeks time when the teams face each other again.
The Medallion B side had another impressive win against Ballymena Academy on Saturday morning, James Bleakly, Sam Beattie and James Patton all starred as Coleraine ran out 32-0 winners. The boys have shown great commitment to training and hopefully will use this platform to build for the fixtures in the weeks ahead.
The 14 A team suffered a disappointing 12-10 defeat away to Ballymena. After a lacklustre first half the team were behind 7-0 and things got even worse as Ballymena scored another try early in the second half to leave the score at 12-0.
However the side did not let their heads drop and battled to get back into the game. Tries came from number 8 Matthew Norris and fullback Callum Norris.
Despite putting massive pressure on in the closing minutes the winning try eluded the Coleraine team. With key players due to return in the coming weeks from injury the A team can be confident that they can return to winning ways.
The B team also suffered a defeat, losing 7-5 away to Ballymena. Despite dominating the game from the start the A team were unable to turn their dominance into points with a Craig McKinney try the only reward for their efforts.
With their only real attack in the second half Ballymena managed to score underneath the posts to leave the final score 7-5. The B team forwards were excellent throughout with David Greatorex, Joel Heggarty, Ryan Leighton and Niall Carey Brownlow all having very strong games.
The U13 A’s were caught cold by a strong and well drilled Ballymena team. Despite the dominance of the Coleraine forwards for long sections of the game the side fell victim to poor defence in their back line.
Significant players were Andrew McKee who proved unstoppable at a close range and Luca McClelland’s creditable defensive, first half performance. This game must be seen as a missed opportunity as CAI had the possession and the field position to record a significant victory. Changes must be made before the return visit in a few weeks time.
In an end to end game the U13 B’s snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. However it has to be said that the enjoyment of the players and an all round good performance over shadowed the 25 to 20 point deficit. Significant players were Paul Reid, Ben Turner and Jordon Bradley.
The U13 C team had their first outing against Ballymena Academy on Saturday at home and had a comfortable victory 58-0. In the first half, CAI scored 6 tries from Moore, McNeill, Rodden and a hat trick from scrum half O’Kane. Moore converted two of these to leave the half-time score 34-0.
In the second half, Moore, Doherty, Donnelly and Goodman, all got to score tries and Moore converted two leaving the full time score 58-0.