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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 6th February 2016

Monday, 8 February 2016

There were several Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate games as well as a number of Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield, Bowl and Trophy and Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup and Plate games played midweek in the lead-up to a full list of Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup, Bowl and Trophy games played on Saturday 6th February.

In a Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate quarter-final game, played on Monday 1st February, Sullivan Upper hosted Belfast High School in a game the Sullivan Upper team won by 33-17. The Sullivan Upper team will now host Omagh Academy in the semi-final of the competition.

On Tuesday 2nd February Omagh Academy played Limavady Grammar School in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield. The Omagh Academy team recorded a 22-3 victory and will now play Wallace High School in the quarter-final of the competition. Belfast Royal Academy defeated Royal School, Dungannon by 14-0 in the same competition. The Belfast Royal Academy team will now play Coleraine Grammar School in the quarter-final of the competition. Coleraine Grammar School defeated Banbridge Academy by 36-5 when the teams met in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield. The Methodist College, Belfast Medallion team travelled to play Portadown College in their postponed Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game. The Methody team won the game by 12-3 and will now host the Royal School, Armagh team in the quarter-finals of the Medallion Shield.

The Royal School, Dungannon team will now play Limavady Grammar School in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate competition. Banbridge Academy will travel to play Sullivan Upper in the quarter-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate. Portadown College will now host Friends’ School, Lisburn in the quarter-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate competition.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy Cambridge House Grammar School defeated Lurgan College by 31-5. The Cambridge House team will now play away against Grosvenor Grammar School who defeated Carrickfergus College 32-5 in their quarter-final game which was played on Friday 5th February. Carrickfergus Grammar School defeated Belfast High School in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy game. The Carrickfergus Medallion will now travel to play Foyle and Londonderry College in the semi-final of the competition.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4thxv, the holders of the 3rdxv Cup, and Down High School 3rdxv played out an entertaining semi-final game at Osborne Park on Wednesday 3rd February. The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team won the game by 24-3.

Meanwhile in Holywood Sullivan Upper 3rdxv entertained Methodist College 3rdxv in the second Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup semi-final of the afternoon. The Methodist College team was made to work hard for their 12-7 victory. These results ensure that the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup final will feature the Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4thxv and the Methodist College, Belfast 3rdxv teams. Arrangements for the final are to be confirmed.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate competition the Ballyclare Secondary School team has reached the semi-final stage due to the withdrawal of the St Columb’s College team from their quarter-final game.

In other Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate games Ballymena Academy played Royal School, Armagh, in a game that finished as a 10-10 draw. The eventual winners of that game will play Campbell College 4thxv in the quarter-final. The Campbell College team defeated St Columba’s, Stranorlar by 45-5 in the first round. Belfast Royal Academy 3rdxv hosted the Ballyclare High School 3rdxv in a game the Ballyclare High School team won by 31-12.That result secures the Ballyclare High School 3rdxv a place in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate competition. Dalriada 3rdxv defeated Banbridge Academy 3rdxv by 36-5 and the Dalriada team will now travel to play Wallace High School 3rdxv in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate quarter-finals. The Wallace High School team defeated the Rainey Endowed School team by 20-5 in their first round game.

On Thursday 4th February Portora Royal School hosted Dromore High School in the quarter-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl competition. The Portora Royal School team won the very closely contested game by 8-7. The Portora RS team will now host Down High School in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl competition. Larne Grammar School hosted Dalriada School in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl on Saturday 6th February. The Dalriada team won the game by 21-5 and will now play Ballymena Academy in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl semi-final.

Despite the difficult weather conditions that schools, and their ground staff, had to contend with on Saturday 6th February all eight Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3, four Bowl Quarter-Final and two Trophy Semi-Final games took place as scheduled.

Regent House School entertained their near neighbours from Sullivan Upper School in a wind affected Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 match at the Circular Road venue. The Sullivan Upper team, despite losing the services of their captain, Chris Jordan, to a leg injury sustained early in the game won the match by 14-0.

Everyone associated with the Schools’ game at Regent House, Sullivan Upper and further afield wishes Chris a full and speedy recovery from his injury. Despite the difficult conditions both team set out their tactics early on. All the players wanted to play constructive rugby with the ball in hand and both defences were made to work hard for the duration of the game. The Sullivan Upper team struck their first blow early on when Chris Jordan went in for a try following good work involving both forwards and backs. Rory Kilpatrick added the extras to give the Sullivan Upper team a 7-0 lead with just seven minutes on the clock. Close to the mid-point of the first half the Sullivan Upper team scored their second try of the morning through Jake Stevenson. Rory Kilpatrick was successful with his conversion kick and the Sullivan Upper team now had a 14-0 lead. Then followed a long delay to proceedings as medical staff dealt with the injury to Chris Jordan. Once the game restarted the Regent House team was, once again, under pressure. However, their defence was now unyielding with team captain, Tom Arthur-Doran, Kyle Van Giesen, Ali Deering and Robbie Johnston all getting through a lot of work. In fact, in the final seven minutes of the first half, it was the Regent House team that was asking questions of the Sullivan Upper defence but the Sullivan Upper defence worked hard to ensure their team turned around at the interval with their 14-0 lead intact.

The Regent House team was playing with the wind in the second half and started off where they had finished the first- on the attack. Their backrow trio of Ali Deering, Rory Jackson and Ryan McCarroll was securing a lot of phase possession and the Regent House backs were using it well. Adam Currie, Robbie Johnston, Aaron May and Alex Hendrickse were close to touching down on a number of occasions but the Sullivan Upper defence was not prepared to let anyone through. Jonny Betts, Lewis Smyth, Jules Storey Rory Kilpatrick all made sure their line speed in defence was good and their first up tackles were effective. They forced the Regent House attackers into making mistakes at critical times as well which allowed the Sullivan Upper team to clear their lines on a number of occasions. The Sullivan Upper team did get some quality possession in the second half but found they were unable to cross the whitewash. There were no points scored in the course of the second period of play which ensured the Sullivan Upper School team finished this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 game as ultimately deserved 14-0 winners and with the victory a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Ballyclare High School hosted a determined Bangor Grammar School team in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round in a game from which the Bangor Grammar School emerged as 15-11 winners. The Bangor Grammar School team came to the game determined to overturn a win the Ballyclare High School team had recorded earlier in the season. The visitors started off strongly with the impressive Zach Kerr touching down for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Bangor Grammar School team had taken a 5-0 lead with just five minutes on the clock. The Ballyclare High School team was missing the services of their captain, Ryan McIlwaine, but stand-in captain, Andrew Seymour, quickly rallied his troops after the early setback. The Ballyclare High School team took the game to Bangor and, urged on by some fervent local support, set about their task in a very positive manner. Replacement out half, Owen Hutchinson, displayed great skill, as well as timing, when he struck a successful drop goal to reduce the Ballyclare HS deficit to 5-3. The Ballyclare HS team, with Alistair Burke, normally a forward, playing in the centre, was now controlling the territory, as well as possession, for long periods of time. The Bangor Grammar School defence, with Matthew Agnew, Ethan Murray and Connor McKee, all getting through a lot of work held firm. However, just before the break they conceded a penalty at the breakdown. Owen Hutchinson stepped up and slotted the resultant kick over the bar and between the uprights to give the Ballyclare High School team a narrow 6-5 lead at the interval.

The Bangor Grammar School team started the second half strongly and dominated the territory in the early exchanges. The Ballyclare High School team seemed to be having difficulties in clearing their line when they did manage to get some possession which kept them under pressure. They conceded a penalty six minutes into the second period. Zach Kerr had no hesitation in stepping up to convert the penalty opportunity which gave his team an 8-6 lead. Five minutes the Ballyclare High School team had the opportunity to relieve the pressure from constant Bangor GS attacks. They had a lineout around the half way mark but somehow managed to lose possession. The Bangor Grammar School team moved the ball quickly to find Connor McKee in space. Connor ran strongly and outpaced a couple of despairing Ballyclare HS defenders to finish with a fine try. Zach Kerr, was successful with the conversion kick and the Bangor Grammar School team now had a 15-6 lead. The Ballyclare High School team continued to find difficulty in getting out of their half and continued to find themselves under pressure. That was until the twenty fifth minute when they turned the ball over from a Bangor GS attack. Prop forward, Dean Jones, emerged with the ball and made a great break out of his half. He found Alistair Burke running a great support line and off-loaded the ball. Alistair still had some work to do but finished with a try to the left of the posts. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Ballyclare High School deficit had been reduced to 15-11. The home team now launched a series of attacks and went on the offensive. The Bangor GS team defended effectively with Evan Wellard-McMillen leading his team well. Players such as Martin Withers, Paddy Eves, Charlie Blair and Zach Kerr ensured there was to be no way through for the Ballyclare High School team and their hard work secured the 15-11 win for the Bangor Grammar School team at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 game.

Foyle and Londonderry College entertained the Dalriada School team in the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. The Dalriada team had built up a 12-7 lead by halftime before going on to record an emphatic 33-12 victory. The game was played in front of a large crowd of supporters who had gathered in very windy conditions to watch two very committed teams. The Dalriada team started well and took an early 7-0 lead when the Dalriada captain, Angus Johnston, made a telling break before off-loading to Gavin McCaughern who ran through a static Foyle College defence. Gavin then passed to Stewart Moore who finished the move off with a try in the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Dalriada team had an early 5-0 lead. This seemed to spur the Foyle College team into action they and took advantage of the wind in their backs. They forced the Dalriada team into yielding possession in the Dalriada 22 area. Matthew Orr got his hands on the ball and sprinted clear to score a try close to the posts. Matthew was successful with his conversion attempt to give the Foyle and Londonderry College team a 7-5 lead. With the wind being a major factor in the game, Thomas Hunter, the Dalriada fullback, was busy dealing with the aerial bombardment from the Foyle College half backs. From one such kick Thomas launched a successful counterattack which continued into the Foyle 22m area. The Dalriada pack gained possession and drove their way over the Foyle College line with Aaron Christie getting the touchdown. Stewart Moore was successful with the conversion as the halftime whistle went to give his team a 12-7 lead at the break.

The Foyle College team started the second half strongly preventing Dalriada getting any possession or territory. As the Dalriada defence became frustrated they lost their shape and this allowed the Foyle College team to force their way close to the Dalriada line. At this stage the game was stopped for an extended period due to a refereeing injury. Thanks to some excellent physiotherapy treatment the referee was able to continue but the long break had obviously given the Foyle College team a chance to recharge their batteries. After the restart of the game they broke through some weak Dalriada tackles to score a try through their impressive No 8, Joel Smyth. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the score was level at 12-12. However, this was their last visit to the Dalriada half as the Ballymoney boys made clever use of the wind which ensured they played out the rest of the game in Foyle College territory. Denis Posternak and Thomas Hunter caused havoc for the Foyle and Londonderry College defence and their strong lines of running led to further tries from the Dalriada forwards with Aaron Christie and the hard working Alan Montgomery touching down. Stewart Moore converted both tries to put the visitors into a 26-12 lead. With the last play of the game Stewart Moore was on the end of a flowing backs move to touch down for a try. He added his fourth conversion of the game to leave the Dalriada team celebrating their 33-12 victory at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 game.

Friends’ School, Lisburn hosted Campbell College, Belfast one of the schools seen as favourites to win the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup this season. The physically superior Campbell College team won the game by 49-7 but the Friends’ School team can take great credit from the fact they never stopped playing for the duration of the game. The Campbell College team dominated the game from the start and had built up a 34-0 lead by the interval. The strength of their set piece play laid the foundation for their first half tries which came from John Crowther, who scored two tries, James Nelson, who also scored two tries, and Jack Howard and Ben Webb who touched down for one try each. Jonny Haldane was successful with four conversions.

The Campbell College team continued to dominate proceedings in the second half but the Friends’ School defence managed to restrict the Campbell College attack to three tries in the course of the second half. Paddy Beverland, Justin Savage and Nikolai Koplesky ran in for one try each, not one of which was converted. Despite being in defensive situations for most of the game the Friends’ School team attempted to play positively any time they did manage to get some possession. Adam Milligan took advantage of some good work from Curtis Dundas, George Pringle, Adam Scoffield and Kirk McGrady to run in for a try with the last play off the game. George Pringle added the conversion to leave the Campbell College team winning this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round game by 49-7.

Down High School and Belfast Royal Academy played their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 game in extremely windy conditions in Downpatrick. The Belfast Royal Academy team had built up a 13-0 lead by halftime before emerging as 13-7 winners. Playing with the wind in their backs for the first half of the game the Belfast Royal Academy team had the opportunity to take an early lead but a penalty kick opportunity was missed. However, shortly after this, Michael Wilson did kick two successful penalties for the BRA team to give them a 10-0 lead with fifteen minutes on the clock. Midway through the first period of play another Michael Wilson penalty fell just short of the mark. The ball rebounded off the foot of a Down High School player, bounced into the in-goal area, and the chasing Tim Robinson was able to pounce on the ball and score a try. Michael Wilson was successful with his conversion kick to give the Belfast Royal Academy team a 13-0 lead. The Down high School team regrouped and spent a considerable period of time in the opposition half of the pitch. They had two penalty kick opportunities, both of which were missed, and were successfully held up over the opposition line on two occasions. That ensured there were no further points scored in the first half and the teams turned around at the interval with the Belfast Royal Academy team holding on to their 13-0 lead.

The Down High School team might have made better use of the wind in the second half but frequently misplaced kicks allowed the Belfast Royal Academy team to run effectively out of defence on a number of occasions. The BRA team was not afraid to mix it with the bigger opposition forwards and did frustrate potential attacks on a regular basis. Midway through the second half the Down High School team managed to get some reward for their endeavours. Zac Ward started things off with a strong carry into the opposition 22m area. The ball was recycled effectively through a number of phases by the Down High School pack before Zac crashed over the line to touch down for a try. Charley Power added the conversion to reduce the arrears to 13-7. The Belfast Royal Academy team went on the attack for the rest of the game but good Down High School defence, with team captain, William Martin, to the fore ensured there were no more points scored by the visitors. At the no-side whistle it was the Belfast Royal Academy team that celebrated their hard earned 13-7 victory and, with it, a place in the draw for the quarter-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.

One of the two big “Games of the Day” in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round took place in Ballymena when the Ballymena Academy team hosted Wallace High School. Given that both these teams had met each other earlier on in the season, with each team recording one very close victory, a tight encounter was expected at the Galgorm Road venue and neither team disappointed. A large crowd had gathered to witness the spectacle and included in the crowd were the Ulster Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, the Ulster Rugby Lead Coach, Neil Doak, and the Ulster Rugby Forward’s Coach, Allen Clarke.

The Ballymena Academy team won the closely contested game by 12-3 but the young Wallace High School team made them work hard for their win. Ballymena enjoyed the better of the early exchanges in terms of possession and territory but found themselves up against a well-organised Wallace High defence in which players such as Mark Smyth, Gary Dillon, Jamie Manderson and Ben Finlay stood out. The Ballymena Academy half-backs, Michael Stronge and Bruce Houston, were managing the game confidently and creating opportunities for ball-carriers such as Angus Kernohan, Alexander Clarke and Jonathan McKeown. Following a penalty, Bruce Houston kicked to the corner and Ballymena Academy drove over from a line-out for the opening try of the morning. Oisin Jordan applied the finishing touch to a well-executed maul and Bruce Houston added the extras from the touchline to increase the lead to 7-0. Wallace High School lifted their game and Jonny Stewart was a constant threat with his probing runs and kicks. The Ballymena Academy back three of Mark Thompson, Conor Cosgrove and Conor Gallagher were very tidy and accurate with ball that was kicked to them with Mark Thompson looking dangerous any time he was allowed to counter attack in space. Ben Finlay, playing at inside centre for Wallace High, made several strong runs into the Ballymena half and, following an infringement at the breakdown, Wallace High were awarded a penalty which Jonny Stewart duly slotted to reduce the Wallace High School deficit to 7-3. Deep into injury time in the first half, Ballymena Academy found themselves on the attack again. They retained possession through at least twenty phases with Josh Bill, Jonny McKeown and Chris McLeister making ground with the ball in hand. Despite some outstanding tackling from the Wallace High players, the away team had no answer to an aggressive charge from the Ballymena captain, Marcus Rea, who powered over for an excellent try. The conversion into the wind was missed and the half ended with Ballymena Academy team ahead by 12 – 3.

In the second half, with conditions worsening, both teams played a less open game in an attempt to minimise mistakes. The Wallace High School team was dealt a blow when Ben Finlay was forced to leave the field with a head injury and Ballymena continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges in the set piece. The best wishes of both teams go to Ben for a full recovery from his head wound. Marcus Rea was at the centre of all of Ballymena’s best moments and he was ably supported by the continued strong running of Alexander Clarke and Jonny McKeown. Ultimately, it was the defence of both teams that dominated the second period. Ballymena Academy looked more likely to score but Wallace High School should be commended for their never-say-die attitude which was displayed in full measure throughout the game. A scoreless second half meant that Ballymena Academy progressed to the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup quarter final with their hard earned 12-3 victory at the end of the game.

Methodist College, Belfast hosted the renowned Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup fighters from the Rainey Endowed School in their 3rd Round tie on the Pirrie Park Paddock Pitch in a game the Methodist College team won by 15-0. The Rainey Endowed team made their illustrious opponents work hard for their win. Playing into a strong wind in the first half the Rainey team impressed spectators with their defensive organisation and skills. The Methody team, with Josh Jordan, Jonny Jordan, Zach Jordan and Paul Kerr all enjoying the front foot ball the Methody pack was providing but Lorcan Quinn, Wallace Bruce, Andrew Nevin, Andrew Bowne and Neal Hastings all ensured the Rainey line remained intact. Indeed, the Rainey Endowed School team might have taken the lead when Lorcan Quinn broke out of defence and linked with Mark Mulholland only to see a last ditch tackle from Josh Jordan preventing what seemed like a certain score. Just before the break Cameron Kelly took advantage of good work from his pack to touch down for a try. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Methodist College team had taken a 5-0 lead into the halftime break.

A drop in concentration by the Rainey Endowed School defence in the early stages of the second half gifted the Methodist College team a second score. Alex Cairns scored the try, which was not converted, to increase the Methodist College lead to 10-0. The Rainey Endowed team then went on the offensive with Anton Lupari and Adam Thornton impressing with their ball carrying ability. The Rainey team was battering away at the Methody line and it seemed that only a couple of close calls saved the day for the home team. Mark Mulholland made a superb break but was denied a try by yet more last gasp defence from the Methody team. Towards the end of the game the Rainey Endowed team was chasing the game and conceded a penalty. Paul Kerr put the ball into the corner and, from the resultant 5m lineout, the Methody pack took control. Thomas Gallagher and Zach Jordan combined to put Zach in for a try. Again, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Methodist College team had done enough to secure a hard earned 15-0 victory at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd Round game.

The second Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 “Game of the Day” was played at Osborne Park where the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team, the current holders of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup, hosted Coleraine Grammar School. The game, which the Belfast Inst team won by 25-3, was played in wet and windy conditions in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters. The Belfast Inst team started strongly and took an early lead in the game when their impressive flanker, Charlie Cloke, was on the end of a well-organised driven maul and finished off with a try. The conversion attempt was missed but the Belfast Inst team had a 5-0 lead. Midway through the first half a loose Coleraine Grammar School clearance kick was picked up by Ben McGavock. Ben counter attacked to good effect, linked with his captain, Conor Field, who outpaced the Coleraine defence to run in for a try. Again, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Belfast Inst lead had extended to 10-0. Just before the break James Hume converted a penalty kick to put the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team into a 13-0 lead at halftime.

The Coleraine Grammar School team started the second half strongly and reduced their deficit to 13-3 when Callum Smith was successful with a penalty kick following a Belfast Inst infringement. The Inst team then took control of both territory and possession and mounted a series of attacks. Initially good Coleraine GS defence thwarted these attacks but there was little they could do to prevent Conor Field running in for his second try of the morning when he finished off a flowing Belfast Inst attack. James Hume was successful with the conversion and the Belfast Inst lead had extended to 20-3. The final score of the game came when “Man of the Match” Charlie Cloke sent prop forward, John Dickson, away on a great run. John off loaded to David Lyttle who was running a great support line. David took full advantage and finished off with an unconverted try to secure the 25-3 win for the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team at the end of this 3rd Round Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game.

There were four Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl quarter-final games played on Saturday 6th February.
Omagh Academy travelled to play Limavady Grammar School and returned with a 24-7 victory. Despite the wet and windy conditions neither team was deterred from playing attacking rugby throughout the game. The Omagh Academy team made the perfect start when centre, Luke Hanson, took advantage of some quality possession to burst through the Limavady GS defence and run in for an unconverted try to give his team a 5-0 lead. The Limavady GS team then took advantage of some disarray in the Omagh defence. Mark Woods latched on to the ball and ran in for the try. Jim McCartney added the extras to give the home team a 7-5 lead. The Omagh Academy team went back on the attack and sustained pressure in the Limavady Grammar School half yielded rewards. James Longwell and Matthew Clyde combined to send Matthew in for a try, which Kyle Beattie converted, to see the Omagh team into a 12-7 lead at the interval.

The Limavady GS team started the second half determined to get back into the game. However, the Omagh defence held firm and Kyle Beattie made good use of the wind in his back to clear his line on a few occasions. The Limavady GS defence tried to counter out of defence but Deane Kane stopped one such counter attack, turned the ball over and ran in for a try. Kyle Beattie added the extras to increase the Omagh Academy lead to 19-7. Kyle then seized on a loose ball and finished off with an unconverted try to secure the 24-7 win for the Omagh Academy team at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl game.
Portadwn College and Grosvenor Grammar School played out a 3-3 draw when the teams met in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl game. The pace of the game was dictated by the difficult overhead and underfoot conditions. The Grosvenor GS team controlled possessions for large periods of time in the first half of the game. However, handling as well as decision making errors ensured they got no points on the board in the first half. Indeed, it was the Portadown College team that scored the only points of the first half. On a rare visit to the Grosvenor GS 22m area the home team was awarded a penalty which was converted by Michael Orr to see his team into a 3-0 lead at the interval.

The Grosvenor team had wind advantage in the second half but conceded needless penalties in the build up to some promising attacks. Towards the end of the game James Catilage, Andrew Boyd, Ben Davidson, Daniel Martin, Jos McConkey and Jonah McDowell all combined to take play into the Portadown College 22m area. The pressure saw the Portadown College team concede a penalty, which was converted by Daniel Martin, to secure a 3-3 draw. This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl game will be replayed at Grosvenor Grammar School on Wednesday 10th February at 2-30pm.

The weather conditions impacted on the Portora Royal School against Antrim Grammar School in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl quarter-final game which the Portora Royal School team won by 31-0. The Antrim Grammar School team started really well with their pack really prepared to take the Portora RS pack on in all facets of the game. JJ McKee was well assisted by Daniel Grandles as the Portora pack was rocked back on a few occasions. However, the Portora RS pack, with Josh Kennedy playing a leading role, absorbed the early pressure well. They then started to dominate the breakdown and this, in turn, put pressure on the Antrim GS defence. This paid off when Matthew Dane broke through the Antrim defence to score an unconverted try and give his team a 5-0 lead. From the restart in was clear the Portora RS were starting to get the upper hand at scrum and lineout time. Openside flanker, Andrew Crawford, barged his way over the Antrim line to score a try. Reece Smyton added the extras to see the Portora Royal School team into a 12-0 lead at halftime.

The second half saw the Portora RS domination allow their backs more freedom to express themselves. Robert Baloucoune, making a welcome return from illness, scored a try, which Reece Smyton converted, to increase the Portora lead to 19-0. From the restart Josh Kennedy fielded the ball to race through the Antrim GS defence and touch down for a try. Reece Smyton added the conversion to increase the Portora RS lead to 26-0. The Antrim Grammar School team put on a valiant performance but their fate was sealed when Robert Baloucoune ran in for second try of the game. The conversion was unsuccessful but the Portora Royal School team had won this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl game by 31-0.

Royal School, Armagh hosted the Royal School, Dungannon team in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl competition at the College Hill venue. After a closely contested game, played in wet and windy conditions, the RS Armagh team emerged as 14-7 winners.
The home side scored early on from a good set piece attacking play which split the Dungannon defence wide open. Jake Ward took a great line and scored the try under the RS Dungannon posts. William Hazelton added the conversion to see the RS Armagh team into a 7-0 lead. The RS Dungannon team responded to this early setback in a positive manner. Their pack gained the upper hand and they forced the Armagh pack into conceding a 5m scrum. The Dungannon No 8, Peter Doran, picked the ball from the base of the scrum and barged his way over the RS Armagh line to touch down for a try. David Maxwell converted the try to draw the score level at 7-7. There were no further first half scores.

In the second half the Royal School, Armagh team handled the conditions well but it was their ferocious defence that was the difference between the teams. The visitors had a number of opportunities to score but the home defence kept their line intact. Following a number of “pick and go” attacks James McSorley scored under the posts following a strong run through the Dungannon defence. William Hazelton added the conversion to give the Royal School, Armagh team a 14-7 lead. For the final ten minutes of the game Dungannon pressed the Royal School, Armagh line but the defensive effort was immense especially from players such as Peter Wilson, Jake Ward, Matthew Kilic, Archie McAlpine and Josh Agnew. Two Royal School, Dungannon attacks were held up over the line which ensured it was the Royal School, Armagh team that emerged from this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl game as 14-7 winners.

There were two Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy semi-final games played on Saturday 6th February.
Belfast High School hosted Larne Grammar School in a game the Belfast High School team won by 13-7. The opening quarter of the game was evenly contested with both defences able to thwart any opposition attacks. Midway through the first half Simon White, the Belfast High School outhalf, broke out of his defensive zone and outpaced the trailing defenders to touch down for a try. Simon converted the try to see the Belfast High School team into a 7-0 lead. Simon then converted a penalty kick to increase the Belfast High School lead to 10-0. The Larne Grammar School team, with Barry McFaul and John Hyndman leading the way, mounted something of a revival. Jack Hill scored a fine try, which John Hyndman converted, to reduce the Larne GS deficit to 10-7 at the interval.

The second half was an even, but exciting, affair. Simon White converted another penalty opportunity to increase the Belfast HS lead to 13-7. The Larne Grammar School team mounted yet another revival with John Hyndman and Barry McFaul coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Aaron Wilson looked odds on to score and it took an outstanding cover tackle from Craig McMaster, the Belfast High School full back, to prevent him from doing so. The Belfast High school team held on and celebrated their hard earned 13-7 victory at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy semi-final.

The Banbridge Academy team hosted Canbridge House Grammar School in the second of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy semi-finals. The Banbridge team was 10-0 down at one stage of the game before coming back to record a 27-10 victory. The visitors started well with a James Bovill penalty which gave them a 3-0 lead. Jack Wilson then scored a try, which James Bovill converted, to increase the Cambridge House lead to 10-0 with just seven minutes of the game gone. This shock sparked the Academy into life and, despite playing into a severe head wind, they proceeded to march up the pitch displaying great ball retention skills. The Cambridge House defence held firm and it was only on the stroke of halftime that centre, Ross Cartmill, the Banbridge Academy’s most threatening back, struck a beautiful line and crossed for the unconverted try to reduce the deficit to 10-5 at the break.

A buoyant Banbridge Academy team came out all guns blazing in the second half. With the wind at their back they now looked like becoming the winning team. Persistent pressure led to the first score of the second period when a driving maul marched over the line and prop, John Wilson, emerged with the ball. The try was not converted but the score was now 10-10. Then more pressure paid off when 2nd Row, Ethan Cromie, barged over to stretch the lead to 15-10. Ben Thompson converted the try to put the Banbridge Academy team into a 17-10 lead. Once again Banbridge piled on the pressure and this time hooker, Timmy Beattie, burrowed over the line to claim another try. Ben Thompson converted to increase the Banbridge Academy lead to 24-10. The final scoring act was a penalty from Thompson which ensured a 27-10 victory for the Banbridge Academy team and with it their place in the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy competition.

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy final is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 24th February. The venue and arrangements are to be confirmed.
There was one 1stxv friendly game played on Saturday 6th February when Wellington College, Belfast hosted Lurgan College. The Wellington College team recorded a 12-0 victory with tries from Karl Sloan and Jason Lyons. Jamie Hewitt was successful with one conversion kick.

When the results of all the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup, Bowl and Trophy games were known the draws for the quarter-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup and Subsidiary Shield, as well as the draws for the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl, took place at Ballyclare High School.

The draws were conducted by Mary Phillips, Danske Bank Branch Manager, Ballyclare, and Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby Manager at Ulster Rugby. The draws were overseen by Mr Stephen Black, Chairman of the Ulster Schools’ Rugby Committee. The results of the draws are as follows:-
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup quarter-finals draw:
Campbell College, Belfast v Methodist College, Belfast
Ballymena Academy v Belfast Royal Academy
Dalriada School v Bangor Grammar School
Royal Belfast Academical Institution v Sullivan Upper School

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield quarter-finals draw:
Down High School v Ballyclare High School
Rainey Endowed School v Regent House School
Wallace High School v Friends’School, Lisburn
Foyle and Londonderry College v Coleraine Grammar School

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl semi-finals draw:
Omagh Academy v Portadown College or Grosvenor Grammar School
Portora Royal School v Royal School, Armagh
These matches are all scheduled to be played on Saturday 20th February.