Ballymoney 2nd XV travelled the six miles down to coleraine on sat with only one thing on there mind,showing coleraine the lessons they have learned over the summer.
Ballymoney kicked the game off and from the 1st min showed a determination that they came to coleraine to put a marker down for the rest of the season.
Their pack put pressure on coleraine’s pack to such a degree that coleraine conceded three peneltys in the first 15 min which were slotted over by the excellent left boot of young James Campbell.
With a lovely move started by scrumhalf Jonny linton the ball moved through the backs to young Thomas knight on the wing for only his second game in senior rugby, the big winger took on coleraine’s backs with pace and power only for a brilliant tackle from coleraine’s fullback, the first try of the game was surely on the cards,
Ballymoney were then given another chance to add 3 more points after coleraine didn’t seem to learn from previous warnings from the ref for hands on the in the ruck and slowing the ball, James Campbell stepped up and made the score 0-12 going in to half time,
Coleraine kicked off the second half with the halftime team talk ringing in their ear as they chased the kick off down and turned the ball over from a knock on and and won the resulting scrum, a great run from their first center drew in two of ballymoney’s defenders which left a huge hole for the fullback to run into and he took it and gave a terrific pass to his winger to run onto at pace, only for ballymoney’s Sandy McAuley to put a huge tackle in and take him in to touch,from the lineout Ballymoney got the ball to their outhalf who drilled the ball down the line and into touch on coleraine’s 22, a great steal by Neal Mulholland on coleraine’s linout put the men from the toon back on the front foot again, Andy Borthwick playing at 12 came onto a pass from John Richmond and hit the coleraine defense at full tilt only to be cut down at the knees. Coleraine were defending everything Ballymoney threw at them until their outside center put in a kick to touch which was kept in by Thomas knight who passed inside to Nigel Nevin who took on and beat coleraine’s centre’s with only the fullback to beat to cross the try line himself drew his man and unselfishly fed Sandy Mcauly to score in the corner to bring the score to 0-17 to Ballymoney, James Campbell missed the conversion, the first time in the game that the young outhalf put a foot wrong. With full-time looming coleraine seemed to play as if the shackles were off and some hard lines being ran by their num8 Ballymoney’s Garvin Bellingham was flat out trying to keep him under control. Five min left on the clock Ballymoney hooker Peter Ervine who had an excellent game was forced off with a knee injury leaving the men from the toon down to 14 men for the rest of the game. Coleraine then got on the score sheet with a well taken penalty from well outside ballymone’s 22 bringing the score to coleraine 3-17 Ballymoney. From the kick off Ballymoney seemed to take exception at letting coleraine on the scoreboard and put some huge hits from another coleraine “old boy” Darran Smith playing for the last three years at 13 for ballymoney on the ex-Ballymoney player Matheuw Waddel playing at 6 for coleraine that they turned him over and coleraine hands at the ruck again gave away another penalty knocked over by Campbell.
With 1 min remaining on the clock this coleraine side was not about to lay down and take this defeat on the chin, instead they were the last to score with a well worked try to send the toon men back up the road after a brilliant game of rugby played by both sides in a great spirit of the game.
So that was the first Darby of the year and if this game is anything to go by I’m sure both clubs will be rubbing their hands with anticipation for round two!!!
Final score coleraine 8-20 Ballymoney
Report by Mark Culbertson