Cooke match report 8 Dec 2018
Cooke keep in touch with top four following bonus point win
This was a keenly contested derby against East Belfast rivals CIYMS, played in front of a large crowd at a wet and windy Shaw’s Bridge.
The first score of the game after just six minutes fell to CI’s athletic winger Jason Harvey when the ball was moved quickly from a visitors scrum in the Cooke 22. Cooke regrouped immediately and following some good handling amongst the backs, centre Phil Cartmill cut a path through the CI defence for a try which Alan Gourley converted. With less than 20 minutes played Cooke lost winger Phil Wood and influential second row Matty Crothers to injury with substitutes Ian Anderson and Russell Hunter brought into the fray.
CI took the lead again when strong running centre Matthew Kilgore crashed through a slack Cooke defence for the visitors second try which he converted. Just before half time hard working Cooke No 8 Jason Lyons found himself in the “sin bin”. CI kicked the resultant penalty for territory and following a clean line out catch by their second row Paddy Aiken, he barged through the middle of the line to claim an unconverted try giving the visitors a 10 point half time lead of 7:17
Alan Gourley narrowed the CI lead with a penalty five minutes into the second half when the visitor’s second row, S Moffat, was yellow carded. Cooke continued to pressurise their opponents and were rewarded when captain Kyle Mitchell spotted a gap in the CI line and raced through under the posts to give Gourley an easy conversion to level the score at 17 all. Gourley gave Cooke the lead for the second time with a well struck penalty midway through the half. Anxiety amongst the home supporters was heightened as the game entered its closing stages when Kyle Mitchell received his side’s second yellow card for a high tackle but Matthew Kilgore’s penalty kick drifted wide.
With 5 minutes remaining the pressure applied by the Cooke 8 took its toll when the team was awarded a penalty try as CI collapsed a scrum on their line. With minutes left on the clock neither team relented with CI’s Kilgore kicking a penalty which looked to have salvaged a losing bonus point for the visitors. However, Cooke’s Jason Lyons had other ideas and struck a killer blow with a try in the final minute to which Gourley added conversion number three, completing the game at Cooke 34 : CIYMS 20.
This was a highly entertaining game where the strong wind impacted on the fortunes of both sides. The dominance of the Cooke scrum was impressive with the front row of Moxen, Montgomery and McClune deservedly sharing some of the glory usually reserved for their talented backline.