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Boyd hails Coleraine after fightback yields first Bowl success

Friends' School 16-26 Coleraine Grammar

Coleraine Grammar School won the Danske Bank Schools' Bowl for the first time in their history yesterday after beating Friends' School 26-16
Coleraine Grammar School won the Danske Bank Schools' Bowl for the first time in their history yesterday after beating Friends' School 26-16

By Ronnie Ingram

Coleraine Grammar School won the Danske Bank Schools' Bowl for the first time in their history yesterday after beating Friends' School 26-16.

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They have won both the Schools' Cup and Subsidiary Shield in the past, but yesterday marked the first time their name was inscribed on the Bowl.

Friends' had the better of the first half and deserved to go ahead after 12 minutes when Stuart Patterson picked up from a scrum to crash over. Reece Malone nailed the conversion.

A penalty increased the advantage to 10 points but Coleraine struck back just before the interval.

Marcus Poskitt broke the line and after carries by Cameron Leighton, Oscar Egan and David Brown, Pierce Crowe offloaded for Poskitt to touch down and Crowe to convert.

The momentum gained from that score continued into the second period as Coleraine snatched the lead.

Crowe changed direction and after a dummy stretched over for a converted score.

A Malone penalty reduced the arrears to one point but their opponents retorted when more good work from Poskitt led to captain Egan being driven over and suddenly it was 21-13.

A third Malone penalty brought them back to within a score but Coleraine made sure of the victory when a rampaging Egan run led to a Harry Mitchell break for Crowe to burst through six minutes from time.

Coleraine coach Richard Boyd spoke of his pride after his team's efforts.

"Friends' came out hard and put us under pressure, and although we were 10 points down we didn't panic," he said.

"I thought that we took control in the second half with three well-worked tries.

"The standard of the final was high in a competitive game. Marcus Poskitt was our man of the match, he was excellent under the high ball and created numerous breaks.

"Oscar Egan and Pierce Crowe also performed well and were well in contention for the award."

Stephen Robinson, the Friends' coach, was frustrated with the result.

"We dominated the first 30 minutes with Reece Malone controlling things at out-half but failed to capitalise on our chances and then gave away a soft try close to half-time," he said.

"Scrum-half David Scott had a fantastic game with his attacking play and strong tackling.

"Centre Jack Harte was also outstanding in defence and made a few breaks but credit must also be given to the Coleraine defence."

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