Coleraine Academical Institution played near neighbours and close rivals, Ballymena Academy in the 4th Round of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. A big crowd was in attendance at Coleraine for this Northern Bank Schools’ Cup encounter.
After a week of persistent rain, the pitch was somewhat heavy underfoot though the conditions overhead were perfect. Ballymena Academy had the better of both territory and possession in the early exchanges and opened the scoring after five minutes when Darren Geddis was successful with a penalty from forty metres to give his team a 3-0 lead. Ballymena continued to apply pressure with Darren Geddis and his half back partner, Jack Fleming, controlling the tempo of the game. After fifteen minutes, Ballymena Academy scored the first try of the morning. Both Matthew Rea and Calvin Kernohan made good ground and, when the ball was recycled, Nicholas Stirling sent Thomas Gaston clear. The winger showed excellent pace to round his opposite man and touch down below the posts. Darren Geddis made no mistake with the conversion to increase the Academy lead to 10-0. Coleraine AI came back into the game immediately and enjoyed an extended period of time in the Ballymena half. After a Ballymena infringement at the breakdown, Mikey Poskitt narrowly missed his penalty attempt and the game remained finely balanced until the half-time whistle. Ballymena, crucially, scored the opening points of the second half. Duncan Maguire and Peter Storey were stopped just short of the line, but Nicholas Stirling spotted space out wide and raced over to score in the corner. Darren Geddis maintained his 100% record with an excellent touchline conversion to put his team into a 17-0 lead. Midway through the second half, with the away team continuing to apply pressure, George Hargy powered through several tacklers to increase Ballymena’s lead to 22-0. Darren Geddis was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt. Ballymena might have expected the Coleraine heads to drop but, instead, the home team rallied and enjoyed their best period of play for the remainder of the match. An excellent kick by Conor Shields found touch five metres from the Ballymena line and the decision to take a quick line-out proved to be the wrong one when the resulting clearance kick was charged down over the Ballymena line. The impressive Coleraine AI scrum half, Peter Kidd, was first to react and touched down for a deserved try. Mikey Poskitt added the conversion and the game ended with the final score reading 22 – 7 in favour of the Ballymena Academy team.