Coleraine are now level on points with league leaders Carrick after a crushing performance against Ballymoney on Boxing Day.
The derby clash was played in front of hundreds of supporters on a cold winter’s day and the result, Coleraine 42-3 Ballymoney, is testament to the work rate and discipline of the home side.
Ballymoney put up a tremendous fight but Coleraine just had the edge and capitalised on every opportunity to score to leave both Carrick and Coleraine on 35 points but Carrick with a game in hand.
The ‘Cookstown’ sponsored Bannsiders also claimed the Tweed Cup, played for annually between the two clubs. The Tom McClelland trophy for Man of the Match was awarded to Coleraine Captain, Mikey Poskitt.
Speaking after the game Coleraine coach Richard Boyd said: “We are really happy with the performance today.
“It was a Boxing Day derby and tough opposition and the boys really stood up and worked very hard.
“We weathered the storm in the first 20 minutes. We knew that was going to come from a very physical, strong Ballymoney side and we really fronted up and did well in defence.
“After that we came into our own and the tempo came into the game. Cameron Fulton, Alan Clarke and all our backs were playing well and kept the momentum going throughout.”
Looking forward Richard said: “We are happy going into the New Year with a wee bit of distance between first, second and third in the league.
“We’ve got it all to play for in the second half of the season and we look forward to that.
“Today we had a big crowd, it has been a big day and now we go into 2016 with real motivation, momentum and a bit of a buzz about the place.”
In the game Ballymoney came out strongly from the off and after ten minutes of intense pressure narrowly missed from a penalty.
The onslaught continued and Coleraine remained pinned in their own 22.
Coleraine defended fiercely but with 17 minutes on the clock they conceded a penalty and this time Ballymoney scored .
The game turned immediately from the restart when Mikey Poskitt secured possession and made a decisive break, feeding the ball to a charging Brian Hughes who stormed over the line for the try.
Poskitt converted. 7-3
Coleraine took play to the visitors and were rewarded with three points from Poskitt just short of the half hour and again, just before the break, he was on target to bring the half-time score-line to 13-3.
There was a hammer blow for Ballymoney on the restart as Coleraine attacked and Poskitt claimed three further points from a penalty. 16-3
Ten minutes in the try-fest started, Alan Clarke clinically finishing a well worked attack in the centre of the park, scampering across the line, Poskitt converting. 23-3
Minutes later Brian Cochrane made a scything attack, popping the ball to Clarke who side-stepped his way to score under the posts for his second of the day. Poskitt converted. 30-3
From the restart Niall Irwin went on the attack, feeding Clarke and then Stevie Callaghan to cut through the defence and score.
The conversion missed. 35-3
Coleraine kept the pressure on and after several phases the ball came to Bokkie Carstens who battered his way to score under the posts. Poskitt was on target for the final two points. 42-3
The result means that Coleraine claimed the win and yet another bonus point to bring them level on points with league leaders Carrick and leaves them with everything to play for in the second half of the season.
In the other Boxing Day fixture Ballymoney Fours took the Robinson Cup in the match with Coleraine Threes.
This weekend the Firsts have a bye in the Towns’ Cup, the Seconds are home to Grosvenor Twos in the Crawford Cup, the Thirds have no game. The Twos would love a big support as they start their Cup campaign.
Coleraine First XV: D McCorkell, S Evans, S Jefferson, DD McAllister, D Ramage, J Christie, G Neely, B Hughes, C Fulton, B Carstens, S Callaghan, M Poskitt (C), N Irwin, A Clarke, B Cochrane. Subs: D McAlister, A Corbett.
Ballymoney First XV: J Carson, D Watson, J Blair, T Woods, A Graha, D Holmes, C McDonald, J McFetridge, M Steele, R Strang, T Knight, N Steele, C Watson, J Gilkinson, C McCartney. Subs: A Smyth, K McAuley.