Great day for Coleraine Academical Institution as they see off Ballymena

Action from CAI's win over Ballymena Academy. (s)
Action from CAI's win over Ballymena Academy. (s)

Coleraine Academical Institution hosted old rivals Ballymena Academy in the latest round of fixtures last Saturday.

The first XV were up against a much fancied Ballymena side.

CAI opened the scoring on three minutes through a well struck Callum Smith penalty. CAI continued to press for further scores with excellent charges from Peter Bonnar, Olly McDowell and George McKeag. But for a lack of accuracy with the final pass they could have extended their lead on several occasions.

It was the visitors who scored next though with 20 minutes gone

An excellent line break from the Ballymena loose head prop on half way gave his side the opportunity to venture in the CAI half for the first time in the match.

CAI’s scramble defence held strong but an infringement at the break down have Ballymena a penalty in front of the posts. Their number 8 levelled the score with a kick for goal.

Ballymena drew first blood in the second half after CAI failed to clear their lines on several occasions. Ballymena scored in the corner initially the referee seemed to signal the ball had been held up however after advice from the Ballymena touch judge he awarded the try. The conversion was missed.

CAI ramped up the pressure, however this wasn’t turned into points until the last play of the game. A well executed CAI catch and drive at the lineout looked like being a score, however the Ballymena numer 5 came in at the side and stopped Bonnar from touching down.

The Ballymena side them conceded several penalties on their own line before Peter Bonnar took a quick tap to score 15m in from the right touch line. With the scores tied the nerveless Callum Smith stepped up to slot the winning conversion.

The second XV also put in a great performance in their 12-12 draw with their Ballymena counterparts.

Inst were first to strike as centre Adam Alexander found a gap in the opposition’s defence. The conversion was missed.

Ballymena levelled at the start of the second half but this didn’’t deter the hosts and they went back in front with five minutes to go.

A quick tap from the penalty saw scrum half Matthew Leighton dive over the line from the resulting ruck. The conversion was then made by substitute Zac Hutchinson to put CAI further ahead

However the opposition would not settle for second best and regardless of the valiant efforts from the Coleraine defence, Ballymena scored a converted try.

The Thirds made it three wins in a row as they beat Ballymoney High School 29-22 in a pulsating encounter.

That set them up well for the clash with Ballymena. Again they came out on top winning 14-7 in the end.

Another pleasing result but the error count will need to be lowered if they hope to continue their success at RBAI next week.

The U14 A and B team both recorded excellent victories against Ballymena Academy.

Both games were keenly contested with the As winning 45-17 and the Bs winning a cracking contest by 17-12.

The A team performance was a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. In attack they were simply unstoppable, with the midfield combination of out half Crowe and his centre pairing of McConaghie and Hutchinson all scoring two tries apiece with some devastated attacking rugby.

However sloppiness in defence at key times allowed Ballymena to score some soft tries.

Despite starting the game with only 14 men the Bs tore into the opposition early on and scored 2 early tries through Zach Grissam and Adam Dixon Freeburn. Due to injuries in the As the Bs were forced to play the second half with only 12 men and this allowed Ballymena to get back into the game with two tries to leave the score at 12-10.

This did not deter the Bs and they fought back to score a superb try through Dylan Holmes to leave the score 17-10.

The Under-13 A team produced another great performance winning 45-0.