Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 21st November 2015 by Barney McGonigle

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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 21st November 2015
On Saturday 14th November Dalriada School hosted Regent House in a game the Dalriada team won by 22-19.
Dalriada kicked off a game in which it was obvious both teams were determined to achieve a positive result. Regent, being the bigger team, took the direct route down the middle of the pitch. Some phases passed with not much ground made by the men in red and white. This was until Dalriada infringed at the ruck and gave them a penalty to take them to half way again. Dalriada stole the lineout brilliantly through Jack Horsburgh. Three phases later and Dalriada’s captain, Angus Johnston, broke the line and outpaced the Regent back three to score the opening try with just a few minutes gone. The game played out the same way for the next ten minutes of the half; Regent getting penalties at the rucks and then picking and going towards the Dalriada line until eventually they broke through the tough Dalriada defence to score. Dalriada’s heads did not drop and a few phases later the captain again burst through a gap and dummied the Regent winger to score just left of the uprights. The men in red and white kicked off again and Dalriada this time playing to their strengths; hitting it up with the forwards and then some quick hands by the backs. This worked well and they made a good amount of ground from it getting the ball from one side of the pitch and back creating a space for fullback, Thomas Hunter, to exploit. He used his immense pace and stepping ability to score under the posts. Outside centre Stewart Moore converted to give the Dalriada team a half time lead.
The second half kicked off with Dalriada receiving the ball. Some loose play initially but then scrum half, Matthew McConaghie, sent an excellent box kick down field to relieve the pressure. The Regent boys came back strongly and stole a Dalriada line out in the centre of the pitch. They created a break but were stopped short of the line. Some sloppy play by both teams meant Dalriada were against the head the scrum and the Regent boys took full advantage of the hole in the defence to score near the posts. They converted the try. Dalriada had to play to the conditions of the pitch and playing tactically at the rucks, gained ground after a series of penalties. Lineouts had been going Dalriada’s way all morning with Regent only winning a handful of the many that occurred. Some quick hands in midfield by Andrew Stevenson, and Alan Montgomery gave Dennis Posternak room to make some ground. A series of “pick and goes” by Dalriada and Aaron Christie was over the line. This gave Dalriada a comfortable lead with the score at 22-12. Regent kicked the game off but some miscommunication from the Dalriada players and the Regent No. 8, Ali Deering, was able to run, catch the ball and score without a hand being laid on him. Regent’s outhalf, Robbie Johnston, converted to make the score 22-19 to Dalriada. It was anyone’s game but the Dalriada team cleverly played the clock down to secure their 22-19 victory.
There were two Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd xv Cup matches, as well as two 1stxv friendly games, played on Wednesday 18th November before a good list of fixtures played on Saturday 21st November.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup Belfast High School put on a great display before losing by 12-11 at home against Bangor Grammar School. Regent House defeated Portora Royal School by 20-5 in the same competition.
One of the 1stxv midweek friendly games was played when Sullivan Upper hosted Limavady Grammar School in a game the Sullivan Upper team won by 48-10. The Sullivan Upper team scored eight tries in the course of the game. Matty Moran and Chris Jordan touched down for two tries each while Luke Coulter, Ruari Meharg, Rory Jemphrey and Rory Kilpatrick each scored one. Rory Kilpatrick capped a fine personal performance with four successful conversion kicks.
The Limavady Grammar School team scored two unconverted tries.
A Ballymena Academy squad travelled to play Rainey Endowed School in a game the Rainey Endowed team won by 38-14. The game, which took place in very wet and windy conditions, was played on the 3G pitch at the Meadowbank Complex. The Rainey Endowed team had built up a 33-0 lead by half time with tries from Adam Currie, Cameron Stuart, Matthew Smyth, Matthew Mulholland and Adam Thornton. Lorcan Quinn converted four of these tries
Both teams made changes for the second half. The Ballymena Academy team scored two converted tries through Conor Agnew and Ben Savage. David McCluggage was successful with both conversions. Neal Hastings touched down for a Rainey Endowed try to ensure the game finished as a 38-14 victory for the Rainey Endowed School team.
Despite a number of schools hosting examinations there was quite a few games played on Saturday 21st November.
Lurgan College hosted the Royal School, Armagh team in a game the Lurgan College team won by 13-12. The game, played in difficult underfoot conditions, was superbly refereed by Mark Orr with both teams singing his praises after the game for the way in which Mark handled it!
The Lurgan College team controlled the game from the kick off and the RS Armagh team had to work hard to keep their line intact. Midway through the first period of play the Lurgan College team got reward for their endeavours when full back, Robbie Norton, ran in unopposed for a try. The try was not converted but the home team had a deserved 5-0 lead. The Lurgan team continued to dominate and Robbie Norton kicked a penalty, just before halftime, to give the Lurgan College team an 8-0 lead at the break.
The second half was a more evenly contested affair with the RS Armagh team now able to ask questions of the Lurgan College defence. The defence held firm, with young No 8, Reuben McCreery, getting through an impressive amount of work. The RS Armagh centre, Josh Pentland, scored a superb individual try, which was not converted, to reduce the deficit to 8-5. The Lurgan pack now proceeded to take control of the set pieces which enabled their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ hooker, Harry Simpson, to crash over for an unconverted try to put the Lurgan College team into a 13-5 lead. Lurgan might have scored another couple of tries only for handling errors to deny them the opportunity on a number of occasions. The RS Armagh team, following a series of “tap and go” penalties did score a second consolation try through Josh Pentland close to the end of the game. William Hazelton converted the try to leave the final score reading Lurgan College 13 Royal School, Armagh 12.
The “Match of the Day” was held at Osborne Park where Royal Belfast Academical Institution hosted their cross town rivals from Campbell College. The Belfast Inst team had built up a 6-0 lead by the interval through two penalties from the trusty boot of James Hume.
However a Campbell College revival, in the course of the second half, saw them touch down for two unconverted tries through Tom O’Toole and Paddy Beverland which ensured they returned home as 10-6 winners.
Royal School, Dungannon played Friends’ School, Lisburn for the second time this season. However, despite the return of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools representative players to the fold, there was little the RS Dungannon team could do to prevent the Friends’ School team from recording another win; this time by 17-5. The game started with both packs displaying a determined approach especially at set piece time. The first score of the game came from a strong Friends’ School scrum which enabled their back line to create the opportunity for fullback, David Newell, to touch down for a try in the corner. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Friends’ School team had a 5-0 lead. The Royal School, Dungannon team took the game to the Friends’ School team but could find no way through a resolute and well-organised defence. Close to the end of the first half Adam Milligan worked hard to gain turnover ball and he was rewarded with a try. David Stewart added the conversion to give the Lisburn team a 12-0 lead at the break.
The second half was a continuation of the first with both packs seeking ascendancy and control of the game. The Friends’ School lineout was a source of quality possession with team captain for the day, Gareth Hill, proving to be an effective operator. The Friends’ School attack was able to create a number of opportunities with the ball in hand but could not find any way through the home defence. That was until the George Pringle, the Friends’ School centre, ran a great line to breach the RS Dungannon defence and finish off with a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Friends’ School team now had a 17-0 lead. In one of the final plays of the game Aaron Perry caused confusion in the Friends’ School ranks and he touched down for an unconverted try to leave the final score reading Royal School, Dungannon 5 Friends’ School, Lisburn 17.
Down High School hosted Regent House in a closely contested game the Down High school team won by 13-7. The game was played in cold, crisp conditions with both teams displaying a great ability to play running rugby. Down High School took a 3-0 lead when Paddy Browne converted a penalty opportunity following a Regent player straying off-side. This became 8-0 when Zac Ward displayed great determination to fend off a number of tacklers and stretch for the line to touch down for an unconverted try just before the interval.
The Down High School lead was extended to 13-0 in the second half when Chris Beattie displayed great strength to reach for the line and score an unconverted try. Poor Down High School discipline, resulting in three successive penalties against them, enabled the Regent House team to establish good territorial advantage in the Down High School 22m area. Ali Deering showed impressive skills to score a try, which Robbie Johnston converted, to reduce the arrears to 13-7. The Down High School team had opportunities to add to their tally but they were unable to do so. This ensured the final score read 13-7 in favour of the Down High School team.
Wellington College played Banbridge Academy in a game the Banbridge Academy team won by 12-7. Banbridge Academy started the game strongly but the Wellington College defence was able to handle the pressure in the opening exchanges. Midway through the first half the Banbridge team took 5-0 lead when their winger, Jack Dologhan, touched down for an unconverted try following a good set scrum move. Further Banbridge Academy pressure enabled their lively hooker, Timmy Beattie, to drive over from close range a finish with a try. Tom Flanagan added the conversion to extend the Banbridge lead to 12-0. Just before the interval the Wellington College team, on their first visit to the Banbridge Academy 22m area, scored a converted try to reduce the deficit to 12-7 at the break.
The second half was a more evenly contested affair with both teams creating opportunities for points only to be let down by poor execution. The final ten minutes of the game saw the Wellington team pressurise the Banbridge line. However, the Banbridge defence, with Troy Pinion and Jonny McIntosh getting through a lot of work, held firm to ensure it was the Banbridge Academy team that recorded a welcome 12-7 victory.
Foyle and Londonderry College played Ballyclare High School in a game the Ballyclare HS team won 24-12. The Foyle College started well and took an early 7-0 lead when Thomas Cole scored a try which Matthew Corr converted. The Ballyclare team responded positively and scored a converted try to take the score to 7-7 at the break.
The visitors increased this lead to 12-7 with an unconverted try early in the second half. A second unconverted try increased that lead to 17-7. Back came the Foyle and Londonderry College team with a second try from Thomas Cole, once again converted by Matthew Corr, to reduce the deficit to 17-14. With the last play of the game the Ballyclare High School team scored a converted try to secure their 24-14 victory.
Portora Royal School added to their growing reputation with a 24-7 win over Portadown College. The Portora RS team started strongly and their early domination of proceedings paid off when Reece Smyton crossed the Portadown College line to score a try. He converted the try to give his Portora RS team a 7-0 lead. Reece extended this lead to 10-0 when he converted a penalty kick a short time later. Just before half time the Portora RS scrum half, Matthew Dane, darted in for a try. Reece Smyton converted the try to secure a 17-0 lead for the home team at the interval.
Both teams made a number of changes at the start of the second half. A Josh Kennedy try, once again converted by Reece Smyton, extended the Portora RS lead to 24-0. With the last play of the game Portadown College team scored a consolation try through Matthew Neill, which was converted by Michael Orr, to leave the final score reading Portora Royal School 24 Portadown College 7.
Grosvenor Grammar School travelled to Larne Grammar School and returned home with a 38-3 victory under their belts. Taylor Pollock, Andrew Boyd and Daniel Martin were among the Grosvenor players who impressed during the game. Taylor scored two tries with Daniel Martin, Andrew Boyd, Jos McConkey and Adam Skelton all touching down for one try apiece. Daniel Martin was successful with four conversion kicks.
Belfast Royal Academy hosted Dalriada at Roughfort in a game the Dalriada team on by 21-15. The game started on a snow covered pitch with the Dalriada team scoring an early try. Angus Johnston took advantage of some good phase play from his team to slip through a gap in the BRA defence and touch down for a try. Stewart Moore converted the try to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. A short time later the Dalriada team scored a second try when Aaron Christie was bundled over the BRA line following a lineout maul. Stewart Moore was successful with the conversion to put the Dalriada team into a 14-0 lead. The BRA team recovered from these setbacks and pressure from the Academy pack in the Dalriada 22m area resulted in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd Row, Matthew Dalton, charging over for a try. Michael Wilson was successful with his conversion kick to bring his BRA team back into the game having reduced the arrears to 14-7. Close to half time Thomas Hunter broke from his 22m area and looked certain to score until a superb cover defence tackle from Michael Wilson stopped him in his tracks just short of the BRA line. However, from a resultant scrum, Jack McMullan broke to score the third Dalriada try of the game. Stewart Moore added the extras to increase the Dalriada lead to 21-7. On the stroke of half time Michael Wilson kicked a penalty for the BRA team to leave Dalriada with a 21-10 lead at the break.
The second half saw the BRA pack take control of affairs at set piece time. Conor McAuley and Michael Wilson kept the BRA team on the front foot and the Dalriada team had to defend for long periods of time. A quickly taken penalty ended with Conor McAuley scoring an unconverted try to take the score to 21-15, still in favour of Dalriada. A huge effort from the Belfast Royal Academy pack, in the final few minutes of the game, was thwarted by the Dalriada defence which ensured the Dalriada team emerged from the game as 21-15 winners.
Coleraine Grammar School continued their recent run of good form with an impressive 20-10 victory against Methodist College, Belfast. The game, which was played in cold and wet conditions, started off with the Methody team taking an early 3-0 lead through a Paul Kerr penalty. The Coleraine GS pack then started to take the game to the opposition with some strong carries and some good game management skills from their half backs. Callum Smith levelled the score at 3-3 when he converted a penalty kick following a Methody infringement. A well-constructed driven maul from the Methody pack ended with Zac Jordan touching down for a try. Paul Kerr converted the try to give the Methodist College team a 10-03 lead at the interval.
A few well-chosen words of advice from the Coleraine GS coaching staff at the break seemed to have had the desired effect on the Coleraine team in the second half. Good possession from a Coleraine GS lineout was well used by their talented back division. Thomas Lavery scored a try in the corner, which Callum Smith converted, to draw the score level at 10-10. This raised the Coleraine GS game and it was not long before they were in the lead. A combination of good work, from both forwards and backs, finished with Niall Cameron timing a run to perfection. He sliced the Methody defence wide open and finished with a try close to the posts. Callum Smith converted the try to give the home team a 17-10 lead. The Methodist College team still had time to salvage something from the game and they took play deep into Coleraine GS territory. Zac Jordan, Josh Jordan, Jonny Jordan and Paul Kerr all asked questions of the Coleraine defence but they could find no way through. In fact, the 20-10 result was sealed for the Coleraine Grammar School team with a drop goal from Callum Smith with just minutes of the game remaining.
An injury hit Omagh Academy team was unable to hold on to their “undefeated against a team from Ulster” status when they clashed with Wallace High School at the Campsie playing fields. The conditions were cold and damp but the Wallace High School team set their stall out early by attacking with the ball in hand at every opportunity. This positive approach ensured they went on to win the game by 26-0. Initially, good line speed, and an excellent scramble defence, was sufficient for the home team to keep the visitors at bay. Midway through the half excellent attacking play from the visitors saw them score an unconverted try, through a centre, to take a 5-0 lead. The Omagh Academy team tried to get a grip on the game but the relentless Wallace attacks made this difficult for the home team. Once again the Wallace team got through the Omagh defence and a Wallace winger scored a converted try to see his team into a 12-0 lead at the break.
The second half saw a welcome return to action of Jonny Stewart, the Wallace High School Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ and Ireland Schools’ scrum half. Jonny emerged from the game having had a positive influence on proceedings in the course of the second half. The Omagh team, with Nathan Sides, Matthew Clyde and Kris Beattie all getting through a lot of work, displayed great commitment when they had possession but could find no way to break down the Wallace defence. Wallace High School closed the game out with two converted tries from their forwards which secured their 26-0 victory. Unfortunately, despite requests for information regarding the Wallace High School scorers, no information was forthcoming.

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