Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Preview Saturday 4th December 2010

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It is hoped there will be a good list of scheduled fixtures of games played on Saturday 4th December but these fixtures will all be subject to the vagaries of the prevailing weather conditions. There will also be a few fixtures re-arranged due to some schools hosting entrance test examinations. With most school teams losing out to the weather conditions last week end, players are hoping for an improvement so that games can go ahead on Saturday 4th December.
Foyle and Londonderry College will probably be without Tom Burns when they host Omagh Academy on Saturday. The Foyle was beaten heavily by Ballymena Academy in their last game. They played with commitment and determination against Ballymena Academy in that game. More of the same should see them safely through their game on Saturday against Omagh Academy. Ian Vance, Neil Burns and Chris Campbell are important players for the Foyle team. The Omagh team will need to monitor them closely. The Omagh Academy team made a much vaunted Wallace High School team work hard for a win when the two teams met recently. Ashley McIlwaine, Harry Gibson, Jonny Sproule, Mark Deazley and their Omagh Academy team mates will have to make the Foyle and Londonderry College team work as hard if they are to get anything from this game.
Carrickfergus Grammar School managed to get a game in last weekend when they travelled to play Larne Grammar School in the East Antrim “Derby” game. Despite a positive performance, the Carrickfergus Grammar School team lost the game. Andrew Fulton, Jonathan Moore, Ryan Hamilton and Josh Brown have all impressed with their recent performances for the Carrickfergus Grammar School team. They will have to impress once again if their team is to take anything from the visit of Down High School. The Down team is a very well balanced team with Stuart Orr, John Donnan and Matthew McKeown forming the basis of a very strong pack. Aaron Cairns and Justin Rea dictate their patterns in the backs and they are proving to be a very difficult team to beat. They will expect to win at Carrickfergus !
Belfast Royal Academy will host a very inconsistent Coleraine AI team. The Belfast Royal Academy team is laden with talented players such as Ryan Clarke, Matthew Robinson, Eoin Devlin, Stuart Olding and Robbie Jamison. They are a team that likes to play with the ball in hand but can adopt a pragmatic approach when conditions dictate. The Coleraine team has lost heavily in their last two visits to Belfast. It will take a big performance from Paddy Farrell, Michael Poskitt, Stephen Best and the rest of their Coleraine team mates if they are not to lose this game as well.
Bangor Grammar School got back to winning ways last week end when they defeated the Friends’ School team. Having lost recently against the RS Dungannon team, the Co Down boys seem to be lacking a consistency in their performances. However,they will expect to continue their winning ways when they entertain Larne Grammar School at the Ballymacormick Road, aka Siberia, venue on Saturday. Craig Harper, Daniel Kennedy, Karl Lamont and Gareth Irvine are talented players that the Larne Grammar School team will need to monitor closely. The Larne Grammar School team will be buoyed by their East Antrim “Derby” victory against Carrickfergus Grammar last Saturday. They will travel to Bangor safe in the knowledge that they could create an upset. Billy Brown, Houston Saunderson, Aaron McBride and their team mates will have to be at their very best if they are to do so.
Ballyclare High School remains the only undefeated team in Ulster Schools’ rugby. They will expect to continue with this excellent run of form when they host the Friends’ School team on Saturday. The performances of the Ballyclare pack, in the course of the season, have laid the foundations for the success of the team. The Ballyclare High School hooker, Marc Logan, as well as No 8, Jonny Darling, have been their most consistent performers in a well organised pack. Jonny Holmes at out half and Peter Kennedy on the wing have excelled with the quality of the ball provided by the pack. The Friends’ team will need to monitor these players closely. If the Lisburn team can get any quality ball for their backline to use then players such as Rory McIvor, Paul Anderson, Michael Cochrane, Desi Eastwood and Paddy Pringle could cause problems for the Ballyclare team. A lot will depend on the performance of the Friends’ pack if there is to be an upset in this game.
RS Dungannon will be in a very confident mood when they host Banbridge Academy on Saturday. The Dungannon boys displayed their true potential when they recently defeated Bangor Grammar School. Derek Martin and Andrew Clingan are vital performers in the RS Dungannon pack while Peter Nelson has the key to unlocking opposition defences. Gary Wong and Jacob McCammon provide excellent back up for Peter. The Banbridge team has key performers as well. Michael Runciman, Chrissy Craig, Tom Jess and Kallan Martin have the ability to cause problems for any opposition. If the RS Dungannon team can ensure these players are denied possession as well as space, they could see themselves going on to win this game.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution will see the visit of Terenure College as an opportunity to continue their recent run of good results against opposition from Dublin. The Belfast Inst team has already claimed a notable result when they defeated Blackrock College earlier in the season. Kevin McLean, Nathan Dougan, Michael Kilpatrick, Zach Welshman and their Inst team mates will be doing their utmost to replicate that excellent result against Terenure on Saturday.
Rainey Endowed School has proved to be one of the most improved teams in local schools’ rugby with their recent performances. This was displayed when they travelled on tour to the North East of England last week end and promptly dispatched the local Royal Grammar School team by 36-0. Luke Steele, Jamie Burrows, Martin Connolly and their Rainey team mates played some excellent rugby in the course of that game. They will need to replicate that performance when they host the RS Armagh team on Saturday. Neil Faloon, Harry Boyd, Stuart Hooks, Robbie Magowan and Timmy McNeice bring a wealth of experience to the RS Armagh team. With players like these available to play, the RS Armagh team will see themselves as favourites to win this interesting encounter.
The Lurgan College team was disappointed not to have their Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1, Round Robin game last week end. Josh McKay, Steven Buckley, Greg Lyness and the rest of the Lurgan College squad had worked hard in preparation for that game. They will be well tested when they host Cambridge House on Saturday. The Ballymena based team will see their visit to Lurgan as an opportunity to register a rare victory this season. Timmy Small, Mathew Harkness, Mark Payne and Andrew Cundell form the basis of a very committed Cambridge House team. The Cambridge House team recently defeated Portadown College and the Lurgan College team will have to work very hard if they are to prevent the Cambridge House team from completing a Co Armagh double.
Sullivan Upper lost out on the opportunity to redeem themselves, following their recent defeat at the hands of Portadown College, when their game was cancelled last week end. The visit of Wallace High School on Saturday will present another opportunity, albeit a very difficult one. Harry Eves, Oliver Loughead, Ryan Loughead, Charlie Preece, Michael Scott and Ross Adair are all very talented Sullivan players who seem to have lacked consistency in the course of the season. The Wallace team has also lacked their usual consistency but if Cal McIlwaine, Dean Irvine, Andrew Neely and David Scott can bring their best form to this game, the Wallace team will feel confident about emerging from this intriguing encounter as the victorious team.
The Dalriada team will look upon the loss of their fixture last week as a blessing in disguise due to their injury list. A week end off has given the Ballymoney injury listed players the opportunity to regain their match fitness levels for the visit of Portadown College on Saturday. Ben Henderson, Jonny McLaughlin, Jonny McMullan and Andrew Skelton should be available for selection to play. If they do, this will make it an even more testing game for the Portadown College team. The Portadown team will hope that players such as Adam McMaster, Matthew and David Busby, Josh McCullough and Thomas Halliday can raise their game if they are to get anything positive from this encounter.
Regent House will play Belfast High School at the Shore Road venue on Wednesday 1st December. The Regent team will target this game as a win and hope the players such as Willie Mayne, Nathan Burns, Stephen Deering and Steven Colwell can step up to the mark when they play a very spirited Belfast High School team. Ryan McGonigle, Matthew Huntley, Robbie Fryars, Matthew Boyd and their Belfast High School team mates will be out to ensure that Regent House team will have to work hard to get anything from this game.

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