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Antrim Grammar 6-15 Wellington College

Monday, 12 December 2011

Wellington College defeated Antrim Grammar in the preliminary round of the Northern Bank Schools’ Cup and progress to the 2nd round of the competition…

The Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup got underway on Saturday 10th December when Antrim Grammar School hosted Wellington College at the Steeple Road venue in the preliminary round of the competition.

Both teams set their intentions out clearly from the beginning of the game with a determined approach to attack at every opportunity. Antrim opened their account with an Aiden Howe penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead early in the game. However, it was the Wellington team that saw their attacking approach pay off with two first half tries, one of which was converted.

The Wellington College left winger, Kier Patterson, made a 50 metre break but was held up just short of the Antrim Grammar School try line. From the ensuing scrum, David Marshall secured possession and drove over for an unconverted try to give his team a 5-3 lead. Wellington attacked through the middle of the Antrim Grammar School defence with David Montgomery taking advantage of twelve phases of Wellington play to crash over for the second try of the game. David Marshall added the conversion to see the half time score read 12-3 in favour of the Wellington College team.

The second half saw the Wellington team start strongly with their pack dominating proceedings in the exchanges close to the Antrim line.

Dogged Antrim defence ensured their line remained intact with Ian Moxon, Tony Boyd and Tommy Brownlee all getting through a lot of defensive work. On rare incursions into the Wellington half, Ian Moxon, carried a lot of ball and was well assisted by his fellow forwards, Sam McComb and Adam Watt. As a result of one of his big carries the home side was awarded a penalty opportunity which was converted by Aiden Howe to reduce the arrears to 12-6.

It was at this stage of the game, had the Antrim Grammar School team been a little more clinical when in possession; there might have been a different outcome. Full back, Jack Dempster, hit a great line to open up the Wellington College defence but was unable to get his pass away to support runners close to the Wellington College line. A five metre scrum had the Wellington College pack in difficulties but poor control at the base of the scrum allowed the Wellington College captain, David Marshall, to win crucial turnover ball. This provided the Wellington half backs with the opportunity to clear the danger and alleviate the pressure.

The Wellington College team got great encouragement from this and took play deep into Antrim Grammar School territory. Once again the Antrim defence had to dig deep to withhold the onslaught. However, close to the end of the game a penalty awarded against the home team for an off-side offence was successfully converted by David Marshall to ensure a deserved 15-6 victory for his team.

The hard work put in by all the Wellington College players in the past few weeks paid off with the team executing the game plan, produced for them by the Wellington coaching staff, perfectly.

The Wellington College team will now travel to play Friends’ School, Lisburn in the 2nd Round of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup on January 14th.

Antrim Grammar will have their name in the hat for the draw for the Quarter-Final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy and should see themselves as potentially one of the favourites for this competition. This draw will take place on 14th January.