Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Christmas Preview December 2010.

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Despite the fact that all schools are now on holiday quite a few are hoping to get some games played during the Christmas break.
Like a lot of schools Campbell College will be hoping for a major thaw if they are to have any chance of playing Larne Grammar School on Wednesday 22nd December. The Campbell team had an excellent win against Belfast Royal Academy in a recent midweek game with players such as Rory Scholes, Chris Best, Shane Moffett and Jack Cooke playing well in that game. The Larne Grammar School team has managed to play games in recent weeks and will hope that they can get something positive from their outing at Campbell College if the game does go ahead. Philip Andrew, Billy Brown, Ethan Kerr, Ross Williamson, Calum Patton and their Larne Grammar School team mates will have to be at their best.
Foyle and Londonderry College will hope to get back to winning ways when they play a City of Derry U19 team on Monday 27th. The Foyle team was beaten in a recent midweek game by the Rainey Endowed team, a result that seemed to shock the Foyle players. With players of the ability of Ian Vance, Simon Ho, Neil Burns and Chris Campbell to call upon, the Foyle and Londonderry College team will approach this game in a positive frame of mind. If Tom Burns is available to play in this game, the Foyle and Londonderry College team will see this as a great bonus.
On Tuesday 28th Dalriada will hope to play Regent House at the St James’s Road venue. Like most teams the Dalriada squad has experienced difficulties in playing in recent weeks although that may work to their advantage in that a number of key players have had an opportunity to recover fully from injury. Despite having not played recently the Dalriada team will look to the experience of players such as Roger Bonnar, David Campbell, Andrew Skelton, Ben Henderson and Jonny McLaughlin to see them through this encounter. The Regent House team has had the advantage of some warm weather training during their recent tour to Portugal. The players were involved in two games against local opposition as well as structured training sessions whilst on tour. Steven Colwell, Jonny Quigg, Willie Mayne, Nathan Burns, Stephen Deering and Ryan Doherty all impressed during the tour games. They will hope to do so again if they manage to play Dalriada. This game is scheduled to kick off at 3-00pm.
There are four games scheduled to take place on Wednesday 29th December. Belfast High School will see their proposed home game against Portora Royal School as vital in terms of preparation for their forthcoming Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2nd Round game against near neighbours and close rivals Carrickfergus Grammar School. The Belfast High School team has not played since suffering a recent defeat to Ballyclare High School. Ryan McGonigle, Ethan Clarke, Jake Toan, Matthew Huntley and their Belfast High School team, mates will be targeting the game against Portora RS as a must win game. The Portora RS team has had a number of injury problems to overcome and the enforced lay off should ensure they have a full squad available for their trip to play the Belfast High School team. Rory Gibson, Adam Baxter, Nik Doherty, Jonny Magwood and Alex McCurry are vital players for Portora RS. They will hope for a good performance when they meet the Belfast High School team. This game is scheduled to kick off at 11-00am.
Ballyclare High School will host Belfast Royal Academy in a game which sees both teams keen to return to winning ways. The Ballyclare High School team lost for the first time this season in a recent midweek game at Ballymena Academy. In the course of that game the Ballyclare High School team made uncharacteristic defensive errors, allowing the Ballymena team to score tries in the opening exchangers of that game. Jonny Holmes, Jonny Darling, Peter Ferguson and Andrew Butler will have to ensure that the Ballyclare defence is much better against the Belfast Royal academy team. The BRA team lost heavily in a recent encounter against Campbell College. Ryan Clarke, Eoin Devlin, Robbie Jamison, Andrew McClements and Stuart Olding will all be encouraging their team mates to work hard to ensure there is no repeat performance of that result against the Ballyclare High School team. This game is scheduled to kick off at 10-30am.
Wallace High School hope to entertain Coleraine AI at the Magheralave Road venue. The two teams should have met in a triangular tournament held recently in Bangor but the Coleraine players had to withdraw because of travel difficulties. The Wallace team recorded an excellent win at Bangor on that day with David Scott, Cal McIlwaine, Dean Irvine, Chris Taylor and Stewart Evans all impressing with their performances. Coleraine AI will have to raise their game against the Wallace High School team. They will have to get big performances from Paddy Farrell, Stephen Best and Michael Poskitt if they are to take anything positive from this game. This match is scheduled to kick off at 3-00pm.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution will warm up for their forthcoming New Year tour to Spain, where they will play games against San Boianna RFC U19’s as well as a Catalan Rugby Federation U19 team, with a game against Bangor Grammar School. The Belfast Inst team has impressed with their recent performances, especially their win against a talented St Michael’s College team. If Zach Welshman, Michael Kilpatrick, Michael Mairs, Matthew McGuigan and the rest of the Belfast Inst team can replicate this performance against the Bangor Grammar School team, it could be a difficult encounter for the Co Down team. Gareth Irvine, Daniel Kennedy, Stephen McCloskey, Karl Lamont and the rest of the Bangor Grammar School squad will need to be at their best if they are to take anything positive from this game which is scheduled to kick off at 10-30am.
Ballymena Academy will see the New Year in with a home game against Wallace High School on Saturday 1st January 2011. The Ballymena team has recently returned from a short tour to Dublin where they held structured training sessions as well as a game that was cut short against St Mary’s College from Dublin. Jonny McClelland has recently returned to the ranks of the Ballymena Academy team and has added a new dimension to an already talented Ballymena Academy backline. Caleb Morrison, Peter Wallace, Sam McNabney, John Andrew and Timothy Patton bring experience to the Ballymena team. The Wallace High School team will need to monitor them closely. This game is scheduled to kick off at 10-30am.
On Monday 3rd January 2011 Campbell College and Bangor Grammar School hope to play at Fox’s Field with a 10-30am kick off.
Supporters will be welcome at all these games but supporters are advised to establish whether or not the games are being played before setting out for the games. Everyone associated with Ulster Schools’ Rugby would like to wish their many supporters a very Happy Christmas as well as a Peaceful, Prosperous and Successful 2011.

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