Coleraine adapt to the conditions for right result
Coleraine Thirds enjoyed a convincing 24-7 victory over Donaghadee Seconds in Junior Section Four, built on a solid performance by the pack and intelligent running and use of the ball by the backs.
They are now joint second with Instonians Thirds, two points in arrears of Academy Seconds, but the Shaw's Bridge side have two games in hand.
It was a scrappy encounter with the strong breeze causing a number of handling errors but Coleraine adapted better against a Dee team without four regulars.
"Unfortunately some of our key players were promoted to the firsts for the afternoon so it was always going to be a struggle," commented visiting captain Kyle Morrow.
"Nevertheless we gave our best especially towards the end when we were encamped on their line forcing a yellow card to be shown".
The Lodge Road team went ahead after two minutes when winger Chris Warke chased an Ian Young through kick to score.
In the first period the forwards were winning more than their share of possession with captain Andy Drayton and Mark Holmes dominant in the line-out while Ryan Gibson, Luke Beattie, Robert Andrews were prominent in the loose.
The half-back partnership of Nicky Blair and Gareth McCollum dictated the pattern of play and wingers Warke and Luke Balmer looked dangerous on many occasions.
After full-back Davie Barber was brought down short, scrum-half Blair weaved through for the second try. Just before the interval he broke again but his pass to Young a few metres out was adjudged forward so it was 10-0 at the half-way stage.
Ten minutes in McCollum crossed for Barber to goal but Dee came back with an excellent score.
When a poor home clearance kick was gathered 30 metres out right winger Glenn Sharratt showed his determination to score. Andy McGrugan converted.
The fight back was short lived as a minute later, following good work by Gibson, Dion McCorkell picked up the off load to go under the posts for the conversion to make it 24-7.
In the final 10 minutes the visitors had the upper hand winning penalties close to the home line but the stout defence held.
"Considering the team that travelled I feel we gave an excellent account of ourselves" stated second row Morrow.
The other Junior 4 result was Ballymoney Thirds 20 Portadown Fifths 10.