Coleraine Firsts secured a solid win against Larne on Saturday to maintain second place in the Kukri Qualifying League.
The 23-6 score line against fourth place Larne was a welcome result after the previous week’s loss at Academy and sets the standard for this week’s Towns’ Cup game against Omagh. On the day both sides had to contend with wet, cold conditions. With half an hour gone both teams were stuck on six points but Coleraine made the better of later encounters to score two great tries and claim the win.
Larne claimed the first points with a penalty on six minutes but the home side replied with two well struck penalties from captain Mikey Poskitt. The visitors kept in touch with another penalty to even the scores at 6-6. With 35 minutes gone Coleraine’s Greg Neely was given a somewhat controversial yellow and from the penalty Larne kicked for touch. They pressed home the attack only to knock on as they went over the line as they seemed destined to get a try.
From there Coleraine attacked immediately with Cameron Fulton, Bokkie Carstens and Brian Hughes sprinting the length of the pitch. The final pass went to Daniel Ramage to cross the line and score. Poskitt secured the extras. 13-6 In the second half Poskitt scored again from a five metre penalty kick. 16-6
From the following restart Brian Hughes gathered and charged to the Larne 10 metre line where the forwards and backs combined to sustain the attack. In the end the ball came to Josh Christie who used his speed and strength to battle through the defence and score under the posts. Poskitt converted. 23-6, Coleraine claiming the four league points.
Speaking after the game Coleraine coach DD Andrews said: “It was a hard slog for the boys.”
The coach went on: “Both sides had to struggle in the weather conditions.
“It was a good team result with some great work throughout. It was a bit disappointing we didn’t make the bonus point but we are glad to have the win.
“Now we turn our attention to preparation for the Town’s Cup. Omagh are a very strong side and we will have to be on top form to get a win.
“Hopefully we can take full use of home advantage and I would ask members and friends to come along and cheer the boys on.
“It makes a great difference for us.”
Following the win, Coleraine were presented with the Emile Trophy, originally presented by W Potts Harper in 1936 as the award for an annual rugby match between Coleraine and Larne.
This year the winner was the team with the highest aggregate score over the two league fixtures.
Over the years Coleraine have taken the Cup 27 times to Larne’s 10.
The last time prior to this year that the trophy was won it was Larne in 1978 and it was an honour for Coleraine to regain the trophy after such a long time.
In the only other weekend match Coleraine Thirds were narrowly defeated 15-17 by Larne 3sOver the years Coleraine have won the trophy 27 times, Larne 10 and prior to yesterday the last time the trophy was played for was in 1978 when Larne were the recipients.