Cooke 2’s secure comfortable win v Ballyclare 3’s
Cooke 2’s followed their excellent win away v Lisburn 2’s last week with another victory, this time against Ballyclare 3’s at Shaws Bridge.
Cooke, benefiting from being able to pick a fairly settled side, started the game on the front foot and within the first few minutes they took the lead. The backs moved the ball nicely from just inside their own half, getting the ball into the hands of left wing Dan Clarke in a bit of space, but still with plenty to do. The winger rounded his opposite number and then outpaced the cover defence to score in the corner and get Cooke off to the perfect start.
Cooke maintained the momentum this score gave them and soon added to their lead with scores coming from right wing Mathew Harris, who finished another flowing move well, cutting a great line and beating two defenders to score from outside the 22, and number 8 Matty Crothers, making a rare appearance for the 2nd team, and impressing against his former club. The big man scored from a 5 meter scrum, fended off several would be defenders before forcing his way over.
While Ballyclare battled hard, Cooke were showing impressive defensive qualities and much prove discipline to keep them generally at bay. One very pleasing aspect of the game was the lineout which was functioning very well. Logie, often somewhat erratic with his darts, was hitting the target with surprising consistency, most often finding Adrian Dodds who was being lifted brilliantly by Dan Simpson and Crothers. This combination soon led to tries. An impressive catch and drive by the Cooke pack from a 5 m lineout, with big Hawky steering the maul impressively over the line to score, gave Cooke a comfortable half time lead.
It was the Logan, Dodds, Hawk lineout catch and drive combination that kept the scoreboard ticking over for Cooke, the home side scoring two more almost identical tries in the 2nd half to give the big American a hat trick. In truth the scores were each a true 8 man effort, the Cookes pack mauling work proving impossible to stop.
Thankfully for those wanting to see more expansive rugby, Cooke’s backs were continuing to impress as well. With Davey Elliott pulling the strings at 10, they were always dangerous, and were rewarded with a lovely try finished off by full back Ryan Trimble.
Ballyclare put together some impressive play of they own it must be said. They scored two tries, both by their excellent loosehead, and only some resolute defence by Cooke at the first minutes of the game denied them more. But the home side were well worth their win in the end.
The final score was 42-12, and it leaves Cooke joint 3rd in Provincial 4.
Phil Logan, the handsome and witty player/manager of the team, was delighted with the performance and said If the squad can stay together and build on recent performances, promotion is a real possibility.