Academy prevail against Coleraine Grammar

Mr Stephen Surgenor, of Land Rover, presents sponsorship of Ballymena Academy First XV to players Joel Gocher and Mark Thompson. Looking on is head coach John Andrews.
Mr Stephen Surgenor, of Land Rover, presents sponsorship of Ballymena Academy First XV to players Joel Gocher and Mark Thompson. Looking on is head coach John Andrews.

Following a close contest in early October, Ballymena Academy and Coleraine Grammar locked horns again on Saturday morning with both teams anticipating another tight encounter.

The wet conditions made it very difficult for either side to enjoy an extended period of possession and there were no real try-scoring opportunities in the first half though Smith missed narrowly from a penalty shortly before half-time.

Ballymena started the second half very strongly and made several forays into the Coleraine 22. Some direct running from Angus Kernohan and Marcus Rea created space for Azur Allison who powered over for the first try of the morning.

In the absence of Bruce Houston, Michael Stronge took over the kicking duties and the scrum-half made no mistake with the conversion.

Immediately from the kick off, Ballymena found themselves near the Coleraine line again. Alexander Clarke hit the tail of the line-out and Jonathan McKeown broke away from several defenders to score in the corner. Stronge added the touchline conversion for a 14 – 0 lead.

Ballymena had several opportunities to put the game to bed with Michael Stronge, Conor Cosgrove and Mark Thompson turning the Coleraine defence with some clever kicking.

Coleraine Grammar, to their credit, rallied and scored towards the end of the game when they were reacted first following a charged-down box kick. The conversion was missed and the game finished 14–5 to Ballymena Academy.