Coleraine move top after win over Randalstown

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Coleraine secured a long awaited win against Randalstown on Saturday.

The Bannsiders claimed victory with a 13-3 score line, securing four points and top spot in the league for the first time this season. Carrickfergus lost to Academy, their first defeat this season, and forfeit their top spot to Coleraine, although they still have a game in hand.

Both sides had to deal with cold wet conditions and the gusting wind proved difficult throughout the match. Coleraine were determined to look for the win after three defeats in the last three meetings.

Speaking after the game Coleraine head coach Richard Boyd, was full of praise for his team’s performance. He said: “This was one of the most pleasing wins of the season for the players and coaching staff.

“We have not had a good record against Randalstown over the past couple of seasons and questions have been asked of how we cope in poor conditions. I thought the players showed great maturity and handled the situation very well to earn a crucial win.

“I thought our pack really stepped up today and we held firm against a solid Randalstown scrum. The line-out and maul were particularly pleasing and this gave us some important front foot ball.

“I thought Stuart Evans, Stephen Jefferson and Simon McLean all had impressive games.

“The backs kicking game and handling in poor conditions was excellent today. We looked dangerous when we had the ball and defended well against some hard running backs.

“DD Andrews had a really solid game which was great to see and Alan Clarke scored another contender for ‘Try of the season’ to secure the win.

“Overall this win helps to keep us in the mix and push Carrick all the way. It was pleasing to see a number of players step in today and perform so well.

“We have a tough test away to Enniskillen in two weeks time which will be very difficult but I see it as another exciting opportunity and challenge for this young squad to embrace.”

The scores in the first half came from the boot of Coleraine captain Mikey Poskitt, two penalties, on 15 minutes and 20 minutes. Throughout the half both sides attacked and defended resolutely as they vied for control.

In the second half Randalstown went on the offensive immediately and were rewarded with a penalty opportunity from the ten-metre line, the ball slotting between the posts.

With 20 minutes gone Coleraine went on the offensive from the centre of the park. DD Andrews made the initial break, the ball passing to Poskitt then Alan Clarke who ran in a spectacular try, sidestepping and outpacing the defence from the halfway line. Poskitt claimed the extras.

The final score Coleraine 13-3 Randalstown.

On Sunday Coleraine Cobras Ladies team travelled to Harlequins in Belfast. There were some strong performances and despite Coleraine scoring two tries the Belfast team took the honours, winning 28-12.

Captain Amy Chestnut was delighted with her side’s performance on the day and they are now looking forward to the next fixture at Ballynahinch in a few weeks time.

This weekend the Firsts have no game, the Seconds play away at Ballymena on Friday evening and the Thirds entertain Malone Fives on Saturday afternoon.

Coleraine 1st XV: D McCorkell, S Evans, S Jefferson, DD McAllister, D Ramage, J Christie, S McLean, B Hughes, C Fulton, DD Andrews, S Callaghan, M Poskitt, N Irwin, A Clarke, C Jinks. Subs A Nevin, A McKnight.