Coleraine U13s 24 -0 ERGS u13s
Saturday saw our boys back on the road after a welcome series of homes games. This away fixture is probably the longest journey and one of the most difficult fixtures the team will face this year. However with preparations going very well throughout the week and having had a period of rest the we travelled to the north coast with great anticipation. We discussed the need to go into the game with the right attitude and maintain a high level of discipline to see us over the line.
With all the boys having voiced their commitment during a very short warm up, ERGS kicked the game off up the considerable slope, and within 30 seconds found themselves 5 nil down. Coleraine expertly collected the ball straight from the kick and ran almost 60 yards unopposed to cross the travelling try line. Unfortunately this has been an occurrence which has happened on a number of occasions, and something which needs addressed if this talented ERGS side are to compete at the highest level of schools rugby.
The team shrugged off this early setback and started to play with more determination and commitment, however in the 7th minute were dealt a massive blow. Scrumhalf Cameron Smith fell awkwardly when making a fantastic tackle near the home supporters touchline. After some 6-8 minutes of treatment it was decided that Cameron could take no further part in the game. Thanks must go to the medic who was on the sideline to help assess Cameron. After a quick reshuffle which saw Charles Patton assume the pivotal role of scrum half and Harry Parkinson coming on to the left wing position, the game was restarted with a home team lineout.
A very tight period of play ensued with no team wanting to give an inch, it was clear to see from the Coleraine style of play that they were willing to entertain the home support with fast open rugby, throwing the ball very competently through the hands at every opportunity. On 20 minutes this expansive style proved just too much for the ERGS defence and saw Coleraine cross the whitewash again for their 2nd try of the game. This try was converted to leave the score at 12 – 0 in favour of the home side.
From the restart Coleraine again played fast flowing front foot rugby and registered another converted try on the stroke of half time, leaving the score 19 points to nil.
At half time the ERGS boys voiced their determination to turn the game around and with the advantage of playing down the considerable slope they started the second half with this positivity.
The second have proved a very tight and dogged affair with both teams trying to impose a level of authority over there equally determined opposition. Playing downhill the Fermanagh boys where, for the first time in the game, able to gain some territorial advantage over the bannsiders. Some good strong running from the ERGS backline enabled us to progress into the home sides 22, but all attempts to break through were thwarted by a very well organised Coleraine side, who held their positions expertly and tackled with controlled aggression. Mid-way through the second half Coleraine again showed why they must be considered one of the best teams in the country as their forwards showed excellent unity and sound handling skills of their own, with their pack gaining hard earned ground before spinning the ball along their confident backline and scoring high in the far corner of the pitch. Score 24 – 0.
From the restart the game continued in a similar pattern to the rest of the second half with both teams working very hard to secure possession and territory.
The ERGS boys, while very disappointed, should use this game as learning experience and reflect on what is needed to take their own individual performances to the next level, and take encouragement from the team performance in the second half.