Cooke Rugby Club I XV 15 v Ballmoney RFC I XV 11 + Report & Pictures From Ladies I XV v Galwegians RFC Ladies I XV

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Cooke I XV got back to winning ways on Saturday but were made to work extremely hard in an anxious encounter with top four contenders Ballymoney.

The Belfast side started the game against the wind in confident form but it was Ballymoney who registered the first points with an easy McCartney penalty after 12 minutes. The Ballymoney tactic of slowing the ball down at the breakdown was evident from early on with flanker Richmond yellow carded on twenty minutes for diving over a ruck. Ten minutes later Ballymoney lock Platt swapped places in the sin bin for again killing the ball in a ruck. The resultant scrum was easily controlled by the Cooke eight and when Ballymoney collapsed on the try-line, the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try which Murphy converted.

The only further obvious scoring opportunity in the first half fell to Ballymoney when Cooke were penalised for entering the ruck from the side. McCartney’s penalty attempt however, drifted wide leaving the score at half time at

Cooke 7 Ballymoney 3

Cooke recommenced play vigorously and a great break by second row Robinson was halted just under the Ballymoney posts. The Ballymoney defence remained resolute and the vistors soon worked play into the Cooke half. When the home side was again penalised for entering a ruck from the side they conceded a further 10 metres for not retreating. What was a very kickable penalty was however pushed left of the uprights by the Ballymoney fullback McCartney.

Ballymoney’s misfortune was compounded when Cooke ran the ball out of defence. Scrumhalf Bennett’s pace left the referee in his wake and a very ‘flat’ pass to supporting winger Mitchell saw the ball moved wide to fullback Cartmill who had a clear run to the corner. Murphy’s conversion attempt was wide.

Ballymoney retaliated immediately when influential centre James Clelland took the ball at pace and cut through the Cooke defence. McCartney’s conversion was wide but the fullback redeemed himself two minutes later with a more difficult kick when Cooke were penalised for slipping the bind in a scrum. With only one point now separating the teams the Cooke supporters we beginning to feel uncomfortable. Their unease was verified mid way through the half when ‘the Toon’ had an opportunity to take the lead but the usually trusty boot of McCartney again miscued.

Cooke went immediately on the offensive and the reliable Murphy edged the home side ahead with a penalty just outside the 22m line. The final 10 minutes of the game required stoic defence from the Belfast side having had their captain McMurray yellow carded for encroaching off-side. Cooke absorbed a concerted attack during the final minutes of play but held on to their slim lead to emerge winners Cooke 15 Ballymoney 11

Cooke women travelled to Galwegians on the 4th December for the first round of the AIL Phase 2 Division 1B.
The players put in a good performance with some great defence play. Despite some great phases of attack the Cooke Women could not put points on the board.

Congratulation to Galwegians.

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