LURGAN Second XV got their season back on track on Saturday with an emphatic 59-0 victory over Coleraine.
A week of selection difficulties, with a number of key players injured or unavailable, meant that several positions were filled by players playing out of position.
Coleraine started the game strongest, using their bigger pack to good effect, disrupting Lurgan possession at the scrum and breakdown. To those watching, it looked like Lurgan were in for another hard afternoon, but then completely against the run of play debutant scrum-half Jason Kearney scampered over the Coleraine line from a scrum for the opening try.
Lurgan’s second try came shortly after when captain David Harvey took a short crash ball, drove through the Coleraine pack and then ran in a try from 40 metres out.
A few minutes later Lurgan lost prop Calum Cordner to a shoulder injury, and although being a player down, it mean that the scrums became uncontested so Lurgan could at least win their own scrums which were previously being dominated and disrupted by Coleraine.
Lurgan began to sense that the key to victory lay in unleashing their pacey back line to which Coleraine had no answer.
Andi Stevenson (two tries), Jack Wilson and Stuart Johnston all contributed to the scoreline, while in the pack Gavin Collins continued his try-scoring form.
Coleraine still had some good spells of their own, and had two pacey hard-running forwards who consistently made good ground. However, in their back line they found the defensive line of Craig Browne and Tom Dreaning in the centres to be uncompromising with their hard-hitting tackles. Seemingly every time Coleraine looked like scoring, a Lurgan player managed to make a key hit or steal a ball and turn defence into attack.
From a Coleraine line-out in Lurgan’s 22, David Harvey pinched the ball and set off on a long run into Coleraine’s own 22. A chip ahead was collected by a Coleraine player, but pressure from Lurgan meant that the ball was carried over the line for a 5 metre scrum to Lurgan. From the scrum, Jason Kearney again raced over the line for the second try of his impressive debut.
Lurgan at this stage also lost second row Mark Allen to a hamstring injury, reducing them to 13 men, although Coleraine also lost their winger to an ankle injury.
Lurgan’s final try came following a long mazy run from winger Jack Wilson, evading numerous Coleraine defenders before giving a inch-perfect pass to David Harvey to crash over beside the posts. Andy Stevenson added the last of his seven conversions for the final score of 59-0.
This was a fantastic team performance from Lurgan, which should give them huge confidence going into their next fixtures.
The visit of Ballymoney this Saturday is always a challenging game, and all players will need to make an effort to attend training this week.