Friendly win for Ballymoney in Coleraine


Ballymoney Power NI U19 travelled to neighbours Coleraine U19 to play a friendly. With the two teams competing in separate regional leagues it was a good chance for both to try out things before their next league fixtures.

The conditions were quite windy with a strong breeze blowing straight up the pitch but both teams would have time to get used to the conditions as the game was staged in a training format for 4 20minutes.

Coleraine kicked off against the wind and the kick was field by Philip Docherty who made a great break to the 10metre line and off loaded to Hooker Joel who carried into the 22 however a forced pass to Brown was knocked on. From the first scrum it was clear Ballymoney work at training was paying off as they dominated the scrum but good work from the Coleraine No8 allowed Coleraine to clear their line.

However with the strong wind prevented them from making much headway and the organised Ballymoney defence kept the home team pinned down. Ballymoney’s scrum half was putting good pressure on the Coleraine No8 as he battled to cope with the dominance of the Toon scrum. The turnover resulted in a penalty below the posts. Holmes picked at the back of the scrum and was held up just short. Prop Murrell carried the ball right to line but was stopped just short.

Ballymoney were awarded another penalty 5metres out and this time used Murrell as a decoy and moved the ball wide to Captain McDonald who crashed over for the opening score. Outhalf Steele added the points to give the visitors a 0-7 lead.

Although the wide was strong Ballymoney moved the ball well through the hands. Some good passing by the backs lead to a break by centre Knight but he was tackled just before he was able to feed the ball to winger Rea for what would of have been a certain try. The pressure in defence was relentless and it kept Coleraine pinned deep in their 22. A set move from a scrum saw centre McKinley cut a superb angle to score below the posts. Again the conversion was added to give the Toon a 0-14 lead at half time.

The second half saw the Power NI U19’s build in confidence and kept a high level of discipline which caused them to loose the previous week to Carrick. The platform the forwards was providing gave backs some excellent ball as Ballymoney’s 9 and 10 controlled the game. The opening score of the half went to Ballymoney for what was a superb team try. A break in midfield by outhalf Nathaniel Steele took play into the 22. The ball was moved quickly to David Rea who was stopped just short.

The forwards recycled and runs from McDonald and Murrell sucked in the defence which let the backs attack the blind side and a cleaver line from Fullback Simon McCrea let him ghost through a gap and score in the corner. The kick went wide but the score was now 0-19 with 50minutes gone.

Although now playing against the wind Ballymoney defence still dominated play and limited Coleraine attacks which forced them to try and run the ball from their own half. From a knock on the Toon scrum set up a good platform which allowed the ball to be moved through the backline and a good line from centre Knight took form through a gap and he kept his composure as he stepped the fullback to score the teams 3rd try. With the wind picking up it the conversion was wide but Ballymoney lead was extended to 0-24.

The next try came from the forwards as a set move from a scrum in the middle of the pitch saw No8 Holmes feed fellow back rower Jordan McCaw. McCaw used his strength and pass to carrier the ball into the Coleraine 22, however the home side scramble defence cleared the ball.

From the resulting lineout on the 22 Ballymoney set up a get maul which seemed to gather momentum the closer it got to the line and as Coleraine struggled to haul it the ball carrier broke off and scored another great team try. With the lead now 0-29 the game went into the final 10minutes.

Coleraine through everything at Ballymoney and moved the ball through good running from their number 8 and centre to the Ballymoney line. Several picks and drives from the Coleraine pack were somehow halted by a determined Toon team with 1 to 15 weighing in with some hard tackles.

Any turnovers from Ballymoney were punished by some great kicking into the wind by both Steele and McCrea. As will all the whole game the defence stood firm to make sure the Power NI U19 kept a clean sheet and finished the game with a 0-29 win.