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Cooke in McCrea Cup glory thanks to Andrew Pollock's hat-trick

Malone II 22-29 Cooke

By Ronnie Ingram

Cooke winger Andrew Pollock - who scored four tries in the 26-24 defeat by Queen's II in last season's McCrea Cup final - was on the winning team this time with three touchdowns in the decider at Kingspan.

In front of a large crowd in perfect conditions, Cooke combined well and had the better backs.

They won more than their share of turnovers which allowed their three-quarters to cut through the Malone defence time and again.

Their first try came after 10 minutes when the ball was spread wide and Pollock outpaced the defence to go in for Alex Gourley to convert.

Five minutes later Malone hit back with a Nathan Brown penalty but on 35 minutes Cooke captain and centre Philip Cartmill chipped through and Pollock won the race to the line.

Two minutes into injury time Brown gathered on the Cooke '22' and diagonally cut through to go in at the corner to reduce their interval deficit to 12-8.

Gourley made it 15-8 with a penalty and then Cooke's well organised back line again broke through with Pollock crossing for his hat-trick beside the posts for Gourley to goal.

A poor kick out of defence resulted in Malone centre Brown racing in for his second try which he also converted and the Cregagh team were back within a converted try.

Full-back Gourley, though, found another gap and ran through to touch down for brother Alan to add the points.

Malone roared back and in the 37th minute a tap penalty resulted in replacement Simon Miller scoring for Brown to convert.

Malone II: G Millar, J Gregg, N Brown, R McCullagh, P Martin, B Duff, C Henry, B McDonnell, J Ferguson, M Porter, C Davis, M Doak, R Bartley, D Cave, L Barlow (c). Replacements: C Kelly, K Calladine, P Ireland, B Kearney, S Miller

Cooke: Alex Gourley, Alan Gourley, P Cartmill (c), K Mitchell, A Pollock, A Hanna, R Flavelle, B Mannus, A Dodd, S Bridge, S McClelland, A Quigley, W Dodd, L Bennett, J McClure. Replacements: R Hunter, C Robinson, I Anderson, M Elliott, A Nelson

Referee: D Carson

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