Academy overcome rivals Coleraine Grammar

Mr Chris Gocher, Mr Dougie Thom, Mr Alan Crockett, of Galgorm Dental, who have provided sponsorship for Ballymena Academy First XV. Included are coach Mr Andrews and players Joel Gocher, Chris McLeister.
Mr Chris Gocher, Mr Dougie Thom, Mr Alan Crockett, of Galgorm Dental, who have provided sponsorship for Ballymena Academy First XV. Included are coach Mr Andrews and players Joel Gocher, Chris McLeister.

Ballymena Academy First XV got the better of neighbours and rivals Coleraine College by 23 points to 18 at the weekend.

Coleraine welcomed back their Interprovincial players and Ballymena, whilst still without Irish Schools’ players Jonathan McKeown and Alexander Clarke, selected Marcus Rea and Michael Stronge for the first time this season.

Coleraine enjoyed the better of the first 20 minutes, but it was Ballymena, with two penalties from the trusty boot of Bruce Houston, who took a 6–0 lead.

The home team scored the first try of the evening when Rea and Stronge combined to put Angus Kernohan over from close range. Houston’s conversion stretched the lead to 13–0.

The remainder of the first half saw the team’s reverse their roles with Ballymena dominating possession but Coleraine scoring points. Two penalties and an unconverted try reduced the deficit to 13–11 at half time.

Ballymena Academy started the second half strongly and a penalty to the corner was caught and driven, with James McClean on hand to touch down.

Bruce Houston added the conversion and, moments later, another penalty to take the home team into a 23–11 lead.

Coleraine Grammar finished strongly and deserved the final score of the game, a converted try

Academy: Thompson, Martin, Small, Kernohan, Barkley, Houston, Stronge; Forsythe, Savoury, Bill, McLeister, Moody, McClean, Malcolm, Rea. Rep Browne, McGuckian, Gormley, Agnew, Stevenson