FOR the first time in 30 years the two rugby clubs of Coleraine met in Saturday’s Junior Cup second round.
Coleraine RFC travelled the short distance across town to Cromore Road, home to the University of Ulster Coleraine rugby club.
After 80 minutes of a hard fought game it was the students who were celebrating with an impressive 30-15 win over their rivals to book their place in the quarter finals.
The students started the better of the two sides moving though the phases quickly and putting Coleraine on the back foot.
They continued to dominate and were awarded with a penalty in kicking distance of the Coleraine posts. Alan Whitcroft stepped up and calmly slotted home the first points of the game to make it 3-0.
Coleraine responded to this early pressure by putting some moves of their own together but the student defence held strong and a great turn over on the right of the field allowed the UUC backline to move the ball wide.
Sam Hall took the ball and side stepped the Coleraine winger for a race to the line. Whitcroft again kept his cool and added the conversion points. This left the half time score at 10-0 in favour of the home side.
After the half-time break, Coleraine were the team to start the brighter of the two but couldn’t find a way to break through the UUC defence.
They had been pushed right back to their line and an error of the ruck allowed UUC winger Calum Rowden to jump on the loose ball and dive over the line for another UUC try. Whitcroft added the conversion to take the score to 17-0.
Coleraine then turned on the style and started to attack the UUC defence. After a few penalty decisions they worked their way into the UUC half and after stretching the defence, spread the ball wide to score in the corner. The conversion was successful to leave the score 17-7.
Coleraine continued to pressue at the restart and a penalty for poor discipline at the breakdown made the score 17-10. UUC were determined to clean up their act and not give away any more points.
The students worked their way back towards the line with Martin O’Neill breaking the defensive line and charging forward. UUC fought to break the Coleraine defence but quick thinking from Alan Whitcroft allowed him to spot the opportunity for a drop goal which took the score to 20-10.
The opposition reacted quickly determined to further cut the students lead, when their winger sprinted in pursuit of the line scoring in the corner to make the score 20-15. The conversion was just pushed wide of the posts.
With the score still in the balance Whitcroft added further points to his total with another drop goal to make the score 23-15.
With just minutes left on the clock Coleraine went on the attack but an outstanding mid-air intercept by Lee Murphy of UUC added another try to the game.
With the last kick of the game Whitcroft successfully added the conversion to leave the final score 30:15 to the home side.
The University of Ulster Coleraine now move onto the quarter finals of the Junior Cup which are due to take place on November 13.
The students have a welcome week off before travelling to Grosvenor RFC on October 30 to continue their league campaign.