Win helps First XV seal their place in last four of Junior Cup

Kenny Calladine touches down for a try for Coleraine Firsts. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON
Kenny Calladine touches down for a try for Coleraine Firsts. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON

Coleraine comprehensively defeated Grosvenor on Saturday and now move on to the semi-finals of the Millar, McCall and Wylie Junior Cup.

It was a strong performance from the Bannsiders, as they struggle against injury and try to establish a settled First XV side. On the day a good team effort, with strong individual performances and some flashes of brilliance, secured Coleraine’s semi-final spot, winning 29-7.

The club find out on Tuesday evening which team and venue they have on 30 November, and they would relish home advantage. The other semi-finalists are local rivals Ballymoney, Ballyclare and Ballynahinch 2s, setting up a mouth-watering clash no matter who the opposition are.

Speaking after the game on Saturday, Coleraine coach Richard Beggs said: “That was a great result and we are really looking forward to the semis. We will enjoy this win but it wasn’t a perfect performance and there are still some areas to work on in training this week.

“There were some new faces in the line-up today and they all stepped up to the mark. It shows again there are a lot of exciting prospects in the squad and they are all challenging for positions.

“This weekend we are back to the league and the priority is a strong performance and improving our position. We are still approaching things on a game by game basis - we take this win - but now we are focussed on this week and the league.”

The ‘Cookstown’ sponsored Coleraine side went on the offensive from the start and with six minutes on the clock were awarded a penalty. Bokkie Carstens was just wide from 30 metres and an awkward angle.

The pressure continued and on 12 minutes Dean Rankin made a blistering break from the half way line, palming off several defenders. Andrew Barr was in attendance to receive a well timed pass and go over for the score, converted by Carstens. 7-0

With 15 minutes gone Grosvenor attacked, gaining a penalty, but the kick fell short. A few minutes later Coleraine’s Conor Simpson was injured and replaced by Stevie Patterson.

Just after the half hour Coleraine fly-half Mikey Poskitt made a fantastic break as he exploited the smallest of gaps in the Grosvenor defence. Kenny Calladine took possession and brushed off several tackles as he powered his way over the line to score. The conversion went astray. 12-0

As the half drew to a close the visitors went wide with a long range penalty attempt and Coleraine’s Nigel hall was stopped just short of the line after a penetrating break.

After the break Coleraine continued their dominance of play. Calladine made a strong break from the half way line, feeding the ball to second row Nick Logan who showed a great turn of speed as he outpaced the defence and scored. Carstens was on target. 19-0

Twenty minutes into the half Coleraine were punished when a poor pass was intercepted by the visitors. Grosvenor sprinted away to score under the posts and the conversion brought the score to 17-7.

Grosvenor created two more scoring opportunities as they exploited more poor handling in the Coleraine side. The attacks came close but some good defensive work by the home side thwarted both efforts.

As Coleraine regained control of the game, Poskitt had a drop goal attempt and hit the post. A penalty arising from the same phase of play was slotted home by Carstens. 22-7

Simon McLean replaced Logan in the closing stages of the game.

In the final minutes Coleraine were on the attack when Hall burst through the defence at speed. He popped the ball to Barr to continue the charge, draw the defence and slip the ball to Carstens to score under the posts. Carstens converted bringing the final score to Coleraine 29-7 Grosvenor.

This week Coleraine entertain Donaghadee in the league. Kick-off is 2.30pm and the team would appreciate support from the sidelines. Members wishing to attend the pre-match lunch should reserve their place with the club steward.

In the only other senior match at the weekend the Seconds won 6-31 at Dungannon.

Coleraine First XV: M Hunter, R Smyth, S Best, W Chestnutt, N Logan, A Neely, B Mullan, K Calladine, B Carstens, M Poskitt, D Rankin, C Simpson, N Hall, A Barr, A Chambers. Subs: S Patterson, S McLean