Cooke Rugby Club Notes: Firsts start the season in Style: I XV 42 v Limavady I XV 10 & II XV 13 v Banbridge III XV 15

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Mixed results from the first day of the new season.

The 1st XV got off to a winning start in Q1 beating Limavady 10-42 at the John Hunter Memorial ground in Limavady and the 2nd XV finished a tough match on the wrong side of the 13-15 scoreline against Banbrige 3rd XV.

Limavady 1st XV 10 – 42 Cooke 1st XV
Cooke 2nd XV 13 – 15 Banbridge 3rd XV

Cooke I XV Match Report: 3 September 2011, Qualifying League 1 Limavady v Cooke
Firsts start the season in Style

Cooke travelled to Limavady for the first competitive match to be played on the host club’s impressive new pitches. With several new faces on the side, the apprehension that accompanies the first game of any season was greatly increased.

Following a lively start by the pack Cooke registered on the score-sheet after just seven minutes of play. When Limavady were penalised for off-side, Murphy kicked the ball to touch in the home 22. Cooke claimed the resultant line out and recycled the ball towards the Limavady posts where hooker Cochrane broke a tackle to touch down. Murphy added the simple conversion.

Limavady came back strongly with out-half Haslett claiming back 3 points when Cooke were penalised for preventing release at a ruck. Cooke’s second try came from a similar scenario to the first one. Limavady were twice penalised for off-side infringements with Murphy opting to kick for territory. The effective Cooke line-out secured the ball on each occasion allowing No 8 Mitchell to barge over for try number two. Murphy converted. The two out-halves had further chances to add points over the next 10 minutes but both miscued penalty kicks.

Cooke was now beginning to stamp authority on the game and with half an hour played Mitchell took the ball forward from a ruck. His back row partner McMurray was on hand to drive over, through a good defensive tackle. Murphy was back on target with the conversion. The remainder of the half remained scoreless with Limavady centre King receiving a yellow card following frequent offences by both teams. Half time score Limavady 3 Cooke 21

Eight minutes into the second half Cooke secured bonus point try number 4. On one of the few occasions when the side decided to spread the ball wide, rookie winger Kyle Mitchell outpaced his opposite number to score on his debut for the team. Murphy’s conversion from out wide was reliable, as ever.

Try five for Cooke, and second for flanker McMurray, followed the earlier scoring pattern – penalty kicked to the corner – line-out secured – back-row finish – Murphy conversion. Try number 6 was probably the best of the afternoon. The Cooke pack pushed Limavady off a home put in and the ball was zipped across the back line to outside centre Doherty who cut through the defence. Murphy’s conversion finished his tally with 6 from 6.

With 15 minutes remaining Cooke made 2 substitutions in the pack – Pedlow for Mitchell and Hunter for McCullough. This coincided with a loss of focus and discipline by the visitors. Scrum half Stewart received a yellow card for a blatant offence on his opposite number and prop Frazer also received similar retribution for preventing release in a ruck. Limavady seemed to find a further gear in the final stages and launched a series of ‘pick and drives’ towards the Cooke line. With eight minutes remaining Limavady struck back as fullback McLaughlin came into an attacking move and touched down close to the Cooke posts. Haslett converted bringing the match to a close at
Limavady 10 Cooke 42

One should not be critical of a side that runs in 6 tries, but coach Ward confirmed there is room for much improvement. Captain McMurray had a very industrious afternoon as did vice captain Pyper. The performance in the set pieces was particularly good, admittedly against a smaller and less experienced pack.

President’s ‘Man of the Match’ award went to ANDY QUIGLEY

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