Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up for Saturday 24th December 2016

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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up for Saturday 24th December 2016
There were two schoolboy friendly games, as well as one Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate 1st Round game, played on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th December. There was also one schoolboy friendly game played on Thursday 22nd December.
Methodist College, Belfast travelled to Brown’s Sport Camp on the Algarve in Portugal for a training camp held over the last weekend of the school term. As a conclusion to the training camp the team played against the Portugal U19 team in a game the Methody team won by 20-5. The Portugal U19 team took a 5-0 lead when they scored an unconverted try early in the game. The Methody team recovered from this early setback and took a 7-5 lead into the break when Alex Cairns scored a try which was converted by Paul Kerr.
The second half saw the Methodist College team move up a gear withy their performance. This step up in the power and pace of their performance paved the way for tries from Matty Loane and Ben Crangle. Paul Kerr added one penalty to see the Methodist College, Belfast team end the game as deserved 20-5 winners against the Portugal U19 team.
Ballymena Academy travelled to play Clongowes Wood College in a closely contested game the Clongowes Wood College team won by 24-17. The Ballymena team took a 3-0 lead when Bruce Houston converted a penalty opportunity. Against the run of play the Clongowes team responded with an unconverted try just before half time to see them take a 5-3 lead into the break.
Two tries early in the second half, one of which was converted, put the Clongowes Wood College team into a 17-3 lead. Midway through the second half the Ballymena Academy team scored an excellent try through Stewart Moore, which Bruce Houston converted, to reduce the deficit to 17-10. With five minutes of the game remaining Azur Allison powered his way over the Clongowes Wood College line to touch down for a try. Bruce Houston converted the try to tie the scores level at 17-17. The Clongowes Wood College team then went on to win the game by 24-17 with a converted try in the final minute of the game.
Despite losing the game there were impressive performances from a number of Ballymena Academy players including Azur Allison, Angus Kernohan, Alexander Clarke and Stewart Moore.
On Tuesday 20th December Strabane Academy hosted Ballyclare High School in the 1st Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate. The Ballyclare High School team won the game by 21-10. Despite the dreadful conditions the Ballyclare team scored three tries through Ben Catherwood, Matthew McCullough and Matthew Laney. Owen Hutchinson was successful with two conversions and Ross Herron was successful with one. The Strabane Academy points came from two unconverted tries.
On Thursday 22nd December Banbridge Academy hosted Lurgan College in a closely contested game the Lurgan College team won by 7-3. The first half of the game saw the Lurgan College team failing to capitalise on territorial advantage as well as the strong wind behind them. The disciplined Banbridge Academy defence, with Ross Cartmill and Jonny McIntosh to the fore, ensured there were no points scored and the teams turned around at the break with no points on the board.
Five minutes into the second half the home team took a 3-0 lead when fullback, Tom Flanagan, converted a penalty kick following a Lurgan College indiscretion at the breakdown. With the wind now to their advantage the Banbridge Academy team might have scored more points only for the Lurgan College defence, with Reuben McCreery outstanding, to deny them on a number of occasions. With just minutes of the game remaining the Lurgan College team sprang into life. Young 2nd Row forward, Jon Woods, led the charge and, after a period of persistent pressure and a succession of penalties, replacement prop, Ryan Emerson, crashed over the Banbridge Academy line for a try. Scott Wilson added the touchline conversion to secure the hard earned 7-3 victory for the Lurgan College team.

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