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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 15th November 2014.

Monday, 17 November 2014

There were two midweek fixtures played before a full list of fixtures on Saturday 15th November.

Carrickfergus Grammar School V Portadown College

Carrickfergus Grammar School hosted Portadown College in a midweek fixture at the North Road venue. The Carrickfergus team continued their recent run of good form and won an entertaining game by 25-20. Christian Robinson and Michael Black scored first half tries for the Carrick team with David Carse adding two conversions as well as a penalty. Kris Berry added a third Carrickfergus try with Marc Ellison subduing a second half comeback from the Portadown College team with a penalty late in the game.

The Portadown College points came from a Niall Davidson intercept try, conversion and penalty, an unconverted try from Sam Close and an unconverted try from their hard working flanker, James Wright.

Ballymena Academy V Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Ballymena Academy played Royal Belfast Academical Institution under the Eaton Park lights on Friday 14th November. The Ballymena Academy team, with Andrew Magrath, Jonny McKeown, Marcus Rea and Josh McIlroy all in imperious form, won the game by 13-10. Ballymena were quicker out of the blocks and should have opened the scoring as early as the second minute.  Following a break by Josh McIlroy, Ballymena went through several phases where they generated quick ball. However, a careless handing error, just metres from the line, denied them the opening try. As the half progressed, Belfast Inst enjoyed an increasing amount of territory and possession.  The Inst forwards carried aggressively but the Ballymena defence remained strong.  On the occasions the game opened up, Ballymena Academy looked dangerous and Andrew Magrath continued his excellent form with the boot as he added two penalties to see Ballymena take a 6 – 0 lead into the interval.

A yellow card saw Ballymena reduced to fourteen men at the start of the second half and Belfast Inst capitalised on the extra man with a converted try to take a 7-6 lead.  Neither side was able to achieve a sustained period of dominance throughout the half and there was a lot of play in the mid field areas. However, the Ballymena Academy lineout, with Jonathan McKeown in excellent form, was becoming increasingly effective.  Indeed, it was following two successive lineout steals that Ballymena scored the winning try of the evening. Several phases of continuity, which included outstanding handling skills from forwards Josh Bill and Marcus Rea, created space for Dean Reynolds to race into the corner. Andrew Magrath added the touchline conversion and the home team controlled possession for the final few minutes of the match to record a hard earned 13-10 victory.

The Ballymena Academy and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution Medallion teams re-enacted last season’s Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield Final when the teams met under the Eaton Park lights on Friday evening. This game finished in an honourable 3-3 draw.

The games attracted a large number of spectators who generated a great atmosphere during both games. Both sets of players really seemed to enjoy the “novelty” of playing  school fixtures under the lights. Both schools would like to thank Ballymena Rugby Football Club for hosting the game and for the provision of facilities.

Match of the Day- Sullivan Upper V Methodist College, Belfast

The “Match of the Day” on Saturday 15th November was the eagerly awaited clash involving Sullivan Upper and Methodist College, Belfast, a game which was a re-enactment of last season’s Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Final. Sullivan Upper had already defeated the Methody team when the sides met earlier in the season. On that occasion, both teams were missing quite a few players due to the Age-Grade Inter-Provincial representative programme. On Saturday, both teams were almost back to full strength and it was the Methody team that won this game by 15-5. The game attracted a good crowd of supporters from both schools as well as quite a number of interested spectators from other schools in the vicinity! The home team started well with Chris Jordan asking questions of the Methody defence on a number of occasions. However, Ali McIvor and Robert Lyttle prevented any Sullivan Upper points with a couple of well-timed and well executed defensive tackles. Indeed, it was the Methody team that took a 3-0 lead when Robert Lyttle was successful with a penalty kick. The Methody team started to control the game and looked impressive with the ball in hand. Their lead extended to 10-0 when winger, Louis Trainor, finished off a flowing move to score a try. Robert Lyttle added the conversion kick. Just before the interval, the hard-working Methody flanker, Daniel Coulter,  got just reward for his efforts  when he touched down in the corner for an unconverted try to give his team a 15-0 lead at the break.

The Sullivan Upper team really stepped up to the mark with their second half performance. They asked questions of the Methody team in all aspects of play with Fergus Jemphrey, their impressive No 8, leading the way. Indeed, it was Fergus that brought a glimmer of hope to the Sullivan team when he broke away from close to the half way line and power in for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Sullivan Upper team had reduced the deficit to 15-5. Unfortunately for the Sullivan Upper they were unable to capitalise on this try. Despite Conor McEvoy, Jonny Betts, Calum Jeffrey, Peter Cooper and Mark Montgomery all willing to “have a go”, the Methodist College defence, with players such as Saul Herdman, Ali McIvor, Daniel Coulter and Robert Kelly getting through a lot of work, held firm. There were no further scores which ensured it was the Methodist College team that celebrated their 15-5 win at the end of a hard fought game.

Royal School, Armagh V Wallace High School

Royal School, Armagh hosted a Wallace High School team that has made an impressive start to the season. The Wallace HS team added to their growing reputation with a well-deserved 55-5 victory in the Cathedral City. The Wallace team controlled the game for long periods of time and found themselves with a 31-0 lead by the interval. Conor Guiney touched down twice, with Philip Hylands, Neil Kilpatrick, Ben Finlay, Toby Kerr and team captain, Sam Moore all scoring one try apiece. There was also one penalty try with Ryan Wilson adding one penalty as well as converting five of the tries. The RS Armagh points came from the hard working Jonny Nelson who touched down for an unconverted try.

Belfast High School V Banbridge Academy

Belfast High School hosted Banbridge Academy in a game the High School team won by 15-7. The Belfast High School team took a 3-0 lead midway through the first half when Joel McBride converted a penalty kick. Ten minutes later they took a 10-0 lead when Ross Neill ran in for a try which was converted by Joel McBride. There were no further scores in the first half.

Five minutes into the second half the Belfast High School lead extended to 15-0 when Conor Elliott touched down for an unconverted try. The Banbridge Academy team displayed a great deal of zeal with their performance for the remainder of the second half. They got some reward for their hard work when, with the last play of the game, Ben Thompson took advantage of good work from the impressive Michael McGaffin, to score a try. Daniel McElderry added the conversion for his Banbridge Academy team. However, it was the Belfast High School team that celebrated their hard earned 15-7 win at the end of the game.

Lurgan College V Antrim Grammar School

Lurgan College travelled to Antrim Grammar School determined to get their season back on track with a win. The Lurgan team had to work hard before they eventually won the game by 27-12. With Jonny Hunter displaying good game management skills, the Lurgan College team scored two tries in the first half. Jonny scored the first try, which was unconverted, and Richard Hull scored the second which was converted by James Mitchell. The Antrim Grammar School took advantage of the Lurgan College ability to concede penalties at critical times. From one of these penalties the Antrim team ran in for an unconverted try to leave the Lurgan College team with a 12-5 lead at the break.

The second half saw the Lurgan College team score three unconverted tries. Jonny Hunter created the opportunity for Matthew Laird to score the first. Jonny then ran in for his second try of the game when he cut through the Antrim Grammar School cover defence to score and Stephen Logan took full advantage of a break from Nathan Moffett to score a fifth try of the game for his team. The Antrim Grammar School team displayed great resolve and scored a converted try close to the end of the game. However, it was a case of “too little, too late” as the Lurgan College team had recorded their 27-12 victory at the end of the game.

Regent House V Portadown College

Regent House continued their recent run of good form when they travelled to Portadown and recorded an impressive 31-10 result in a shortened game. Regent House took a 7-0 lead with a try from Kyle van Geisen which was converted by Taylor Nutt. Portadown College reduced the deficit to 7-3 when Niall Davidson converted a penalty kick. Regent House went on to control the game for large parts of the remainder of the first half. They scored tries through David Jameson, Tom Donnan and Alex Hendriks, two of which were converted by Taylor Nutt. In response, the Portadown College team scored a try which Niall Davidson converted which left the Regent House team ahead by 26-10 at the break.

This lead was extended to 31-10 when David Jameson touched down for his second try of the game. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful. Following this, the decision was taken to abandon the game with Regent House in the lead by 31-10.

Campbell College V Grosvenor Grammar School

Campbell College put out a “Select xv” when they travelled to play Grosvenor Grammar School at the Cameronian Drive venue. In an entertaining game, the Campbell College team came away with a 14-12 victory.

Ballyclare High School V Bangor Grammar School

Ballyclare High School hosted a Bangor Grammar School team determined to get back to winning ways. However, it was not to be on this occasion with the Ballyclare High School team running out as convincing 48-10 winners. Ryan McIlwaine gave his team a 5-0 lead when he scored an unconverted try in the corner. Jack Black then scored an unconverted try, following a well-executed driven maul, to increase the lead to 10-0. This became 17-0 when Niall Boyce touched down for a try which Matthew McDowell converted. James Douglas then charged over for another Ballyclare HS try. The try was not converted but Ballyclare now had a 22-0 lead. Matty Darling then touched down for a try following a power drive from ten metres out. Matthew McDowell converted the try to put the home team into a 29-0 lead. The Bangor Grammar School team scored an unconverted try just before halftime to leave the Ballyclare High School team 29-5 ahead at the break.

Ballyclare HS increased their lead to 36-5, in the early stages of the second half, when Alistair Burke ran in for a try from the half way line. Matthew McDowell added the extras. Bangor Grammar School then scored their second unconverted try of the game to reduce the arrears to 36-10. However, there was little the Bangor GS team could do to prevent Michael Stevenson and Matthew Robson scoring two more tries. Matthew McDowell converted one of the tries to ensure the Ballyclare High School team finished as 48-10 winners.

Coleraine Academical Institution V Portora Royal School

Coleraine Academical Institution made the long journey to play Portora Royal School in a game the Coleraine AI team won by 22-3. The visitors were first to register points when Calum Smith converted a well struck penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead. Portora Royal School responded immediately with a penalty from Adam Lendrum to draw the score level at 3-3. Calum Smith, Peter Bonnar and Alistair Corbett then combined to put Alistair in for a try. Calum Smith converted the try to see the Coleraine AI team into a 10-3. The Coleraine AI team then scored their second try of the game when their scrum half, Bruce Campbell, placed a perfect kick ahead through for Calum Smith to follow up and score a try. Calum converted his try to give his team a 17-3 lead at the interval.

The second half started similarly to the end of the first. Stop start rugby prevented either team putting together phases. Coleraine AI, at times, showed greater composure and managed to stay on top of the game. With ten minutes remaining, No 8, Peter Wisener, broke off a scrum and made excellent yardage. He set up a ruck and quick distribution from Bruce Campbell allowed Callum Smith to take the ball at pace and run through a despairing defence to score in the corner. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Coleraine Academical Institution team had won the game by 22-3.

Omagh Academy V Limavady Grammar School

Omagh Academy travelled to play Limavady Grammar School in a game the Omagh team had great difficulty in preparing for due to the floods affecting their playing fields at Campsie. The Omagh Academy team struggled at times before winning the game by 20-14.The Tyrone boys got off to a great start with their half backs, Fintan Lagan and Stuart Ballentine putting them into positions of strength. The Omagh team took a 5-0 lead early in the game when a Fintan Lagan break was finished off by the hard running Luke Hanson. Luke broke through the Limavady Grammar School defence to touch down for an unconverted try. Josh McKinley and James Longwell continually breached the Limavady GS defence and, eventually, the Omagh Academy team scored their second try of the game. Omagh pressurised the Limavady line and, from a 5m scrum, Fintan Lagan outwitted the home defence to run in for an unconverted try and give his team a 10-0 lead. Slack defence from the Omagh Academy team allowed the Limavady Grammar school team in for a converted try to reduce the deficit to 10-7. James Longwell then displayed good skills to touch down for an unconverted try, just before the break, to put his team into a 15-7 lead at half time.

This gave the Limavady GS team some hope and they started the second half by scoring a converted try to come to within one point of the Omagh Academy team having reduced the arrears to 15-14. Both teams struggled to gain a foothold on the game and the game was played between the 22m lines for long periods. Omagh did muster up some positive periods of play and one clean line break by substitute winger, Mitchell Anderson, should have been converted into a score. Michael broke clear from a beautifully executed backs move but none of his team mates tracked his run and the covering defender brought him to ground. Finally Omagh found a clinical edge to their game. A fine turn over by Andrew Newell set his team on the charge. Clive Hawkes and Nathan Sides made the hard yards before the ball was moved into the midfield to team captain, Adam Stephenson. Adam glided past the first defender before expertly offloading to Adam McKinley who ran in Omagh’s fourth try of the game to secure the win 20-14 for his Omagh Academy team.

Friends’ School, Lisburn V Carrickfergus Grammar School

Friends’ School, Lisburn played Carrickfergus Grammar School, on a rain sodden pitch, in a game the Friends’ School team won by 14-12. Carrickfergus GS started the game brightly and managed to find themselves camped on the Friends’ try line. However, Friends’ managed to win a penalty and get out of their own 22m area. This respite was short lived as Carrickfergus GS regained possession not long afterwards and crossed the try line with Christian Robinson getting the touchdown. The resulting conversion was missed but the Carrickfergus GS team had a 5-0 lead. The teams were fairly evenly matched in all aspects of the game with some hard hitting tackles going in from both sides. With a minute to go in the first half, Friends’ stole the ball from the Carrickfergus GS pack on the Friends’ 10m line. The ball was shipped through the backs and Ryan Hall came close to scoring a vital try for the home team. However, the danger was cleared and the half ended with the Carrickfergus Grammar School team maintaining a 5-0 lead.

Friends’ started the half brightly and refused to give the Carrickfergus GS team any room in which to work. Carrickfergus GS gained a line out on their own 22m area after a brilliant clearance kick from Friends’ inside centre, Curtis Dundas. From the resulting lineout, Bart Campbell stole the ball. Friends’ retained possession and ran the ball through the backs when winger, Ryan Hall got possession. Ryan put his head down and ran to the corner where he touched down for Friends’ first score of the match. Ryan then converted his try from the touch line to give Friends’ a 7-5 lead. Friends’ did not sit back and invite pressure. Instead, they pushed on and, ten minutes later, the ball emerged from a ruck. The Friends’ School open side flanker, Adam Milligan, scooped the ball and ran under the posts for Friends’ second try of the match. Ryan Hall converted to put the Friends’ School team into a 14-5 lead. From the restart, the  Carrickfergus GS team  put a lot of pressure on the Friends’ defence and got themselves a penalty. From this penalty, Carrick formed a rolling maul and, despite Friends’ best efforts; they were unable to stop the momentum. The Carrickfergus GS team went over in the corner for their second try of the match. The try was converted after a great kick from the Carrick out half, David Carse, to reduce the difference to 14-12. With six minutes to go the game was hanging in the balance as Friends’ fronted up in defence and refused to let Carrick past the gain line. Friends’ looked like they were going to score as they attacked the blind side of a ruck.  Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in their efforts. With the clock now red, Carrick won a penalty just inside their half, in front of the posts. The Carrickfergus Grammar School full back stepped up and opted to take a shot at goal. However, the kick didn’t have the height or the legs and was booted out of play to give Friends’ their first win of the season with their hard earned 14-12 victory against a gallant Carrickfergus Grammar school team.

Cambridge House V Strabane Academy

Cambridge House hosted a very determined Strabane Academy team in a game the Cambridge House team won by 38-0.The foundations of the Cambridge House win were laid by the strength of their pack. They scored six tries through Aaron Henry, Sam Nicholl, John Glover, Jack Livingstone, Robin Moore and Ben McIlroy. James Bovill added four conversions to secure the 38-0 win for the Cambridge House team.

In other games played by schools in Ulster on Saturday 15th, Wellington College drew 0-0 with Belfast Metropolitan College, Dalriada School defeated Larne Grammar School by 62-12 and Belfast Royal Academy lost, at home, to Down High School by 34-12. Unfortunately, no reports were received on any of these games.

The draw for the Round 1 of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield has taken place. The draw is as follows:-

Wellington College v Downshire School.

Strabane Academy v Cambridge House.

These games must be played on/before Saturday 6th December and results relayed through to as soon as possible after the game. The draw for the next stage of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield will take place immediately after these games.

The Ulster Schools’ Committee has decided the week of 6th-13th December should be set aside for fund raising for the IRFU Charitable Trust. Schools in Ulster have supported the Charitable Trust superbly well in years gone by, raising many thousands of pounds. All schools, playing rugby in Ulster, are asked to continue supporting this most worthwhile of causes, in whatever way they can, during the week set aside in December.