Despite scoring four tries to collect a bonus point, the Smiley Monroe Lisburn 1st XV came out the wrong side of a 26-34 score line against Coleraine at their Blaris headquarters on the Saturday before Christmas.
Sitting second in the league table, Coleraine had Lisburn in shock for the first half hour of this game after they had forged into a 0-24 lead, scoring four excellent tries in the process.
Lisburn eventually got themselves into the match with a Tom Frazer try on 32 minutes following a lineout near the Coleraine line and Chris Knox converted to make it 7-24.
Just on the halftime whistle centre David Gilkinson reduced the gap again when he broke through and dashed 22 metres to score. Knox converted to bring the interval score up to a more respectable 14-24.
Two minutes after the restart a great driving maul brought the ball over the Coleraine line and Tom Frazer came up smiling for his second try to make the score line 19-24 and the big Lisburn support dared to think that the tide was turning in their favour.
Alas, Coleraine were continuing to play good rugby, especially in their speedy back line and within minutes they had widened the gap again.
A hoisted garryowen was not claimed and one of the Coleraine centres was up very fast to take the descending ball and run under the posts.
The conversion made it 19 – 31 and Lisburn had some way still to go.
The Lisburn pack were playing some great rugby up front, especially in the set pieces, and this despite the absence of 2nd row Jonny Davis who had gone off with a head injury in the first half.
His replacement Chris O’Brien stepped in and was playing a storming game. Within minutes Lisburn came right back and another driving maul on the visitor’s line again proved fruitful.
Tom Frazer, the Captain, came up with the ball for his hat trick of scores and at least a four try bonus point. 26-31.
With thirty minutes to play there was still plenty of time to pull the game out of the fire but try as they would, Lisburn could not get the break through their efforts deserved and a further Coleraine penalty brought up the final score of 26-34.