Coleraine Grammar School took on Friends School Lisburn in the third round of the School’s Cup at their home ground on Wednesday 24th January.
Having been put out of the competition by the same opposition last year, the Coleraine side were determined to avenge the defeat.
Friends started strongly kicking deep into Coleraine’s 22 and charging down the clearance kick to earn themselves a lineout on Coleraine’s five metre line. From this position Friends rumbled their way over the line and converted the kick, leaving the Coleraine side trailing early on.
Coleraine composed themselves and put pressure on the Lisburn side from the restart, leading to handling errors that allowed Coleraine to gain some field position in Friends’ half. High work rate from a pack led by some line breaks from prop Oscar Egan meant Coleraine were deep in their opposition’s half. The break through finally came when a moment of brilliance from out half Pierce Crowe occurred as he placed a perfect grubber in the corner for Hugo Mawhinney to dive on and give Coleraine their first try. The try was not converted.
More dominant play from Coleraine allowed them to again break into Friends’ 22 where they earned a penalty which Pierce Crowe slotted to give Coleraine the lead. However silly errors from Coleraine allowed Friends to gain some composure and once again take the lead through a penalty kick at half time.
Coleraine came charging out of the blocks in the second half, marching down the pitch into Friends’ 22 where Prop Oscar Egan broke the line and gave a silky one handed offload to number eight David Brown who charged over the line to take the Coleraine side back into the driving seat. The try was converted by Pierce Crowe. Friends answered back with a well won penalty to close the gap on CGS.
The Coleraine men hit back swiftly, earning themselves a number of penalties to go just outside into Friends’ 22. CGS drove hard into the 22 where hooker Mark Lamont took action into his own hands, breaking off the back of the maul and selling an outlandish dummy only to be stopped on the five metre line. The forwards went on to finish the move they started, battering the Friends’ defensive line. Hard work paid off as second row Luke Norris dived over to push CGS into a more comfortable lead. Pierce Crowe converted.
Friends came back aggressively, threatening the gain line but the CGS team defended like men possessed, not allowing Friends to build any momentum in attack. Eventually the ball was turned over and quick hands through the backs lead to the ball getting into the hands of winger Connor Potts. Potts gassed two defenders on the outside before gliding pass the full back to score a magnificent solo try to give his team some breathing room. Pierce Crowe converted.
The last five minutes were again filled with rugged defence by CGS, not allowing their opposition any territory or gain line metres. A Coleraine tackle into touch ended the game, letting the winning side enjoy their well earned victory against a very commendable Friends’ side.
Man of the match went to Tight head prop Oscar Egan for his storming runs in open play, dominance in the scrum and ferocity in defence.
CGS will now face MCB at home on Saturday 3rd February in the fourth round. A fixture the boys cannot wait to play after their solid start to their campaign.