There was one midweek game played prior to a full list of fixtures on Saturday 16th October. Belfast Royal Academy hosted a very spirited Larne Grammar School in a midweek fixture at the Roughfort playing fields. The BRA team had opened up a 20-0 half time lead with two tries from 2nd Row forward, Andrew Robinson as well as two from centre, Mark Wylie. The strength of the Belfast Royal Academy team ensured plenty of possession in the second half with Ryan Clarke, Matthew Robinson and Eoin Devlin all touching down for tries. Stuart Olding was accurate throughout the game with his kicking, adding 18 points to give the BRA team a 53-0 victory.
The Belfast Royal Academy team travelled to play Ballymena Academy in a re run of the 2010 Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Final. The Belfast Royal Academy team arrived in confident mood following impressive recent wins against Wallace and Larne Grammar School. With injured Ballymena captain John Andrew joining Callum Patterson and Johnny McClelland on the sidelines, the Belfast boys were hopeful of reversing the outcome of the St. Patrick’s Day showpiece.
Ballymena were quick out of the blocks and immediately began to stretch the B.R.A. defence. A great break by Caleb Morrison allowed Ballymena to exploit an overlap on the right hand side and centre Darren Geddis showed strength and pace to finish off below the posts. Caleb added the conversion to leave the score at 7-0 after 5 minutes.
In the 10th minute, Ballymena were penalised at the breakdown and Stuart Olding confidently knocked over the resulting kick. Shortly after the kick off, Caleb Morrison used his speed and power to score a fine try which he subsequently converted to take the score to 14-3.
B.R.A. began to come into the game and enjoyed a good period of possession which culminated in another Stuart Olding penalty. Five minutes before half time, Ballymena won a line-out just outside the B.R.A. 22 and their abrasive pack set up a driving maul which was stopped just short of the try line. Scrum half, Jack Fleming, was on hand to snipe around the corner for Ballymena’s third try.
B.R.A. reduced the deficit immediately from the kick off with the dangerous Stuart Olding picking a hole in Ballymena’s defensive line and off-loading to Ryan Clarke for a try below the Ballymena posts. Stuart added the extras to leave the half-time score 19-13 in favour of the home team.
The second half was a cagey affair with neither team dominating territory or possession. George Hargy and Timothy Patton were particularly effective at the breakdown for Ballymena while, for the BRA side, Stuart Olding and Eoin Devlin always looked dangerous with the ball in hand.
Midway through the second half, Peter Wallace pounced on a loose ball on the halfway line and showed exceptional pace to finish in the corner. Caleb Morrison just missed the difficult conversion. With only a few minutes left, B.R.A. generated a turnover in the Ballymena 22 and moved the ball to their No.8, Ryan Clarke, to score in the corner. Stuart Olding was unable to maintain his 100% record with the conversion attempt which left the final score at 24-18 to the Ballymena Academy team.
Campbell College travelled to take part in the prestigious St Joseph’s College Festival of Rugby in Ipswich. The Campbell College squad was accompanied by their coaches Brian Robinson and Gareth Fry and supported by physiotherapist John Martin, to take part in the 25th Anniversary of their National Schools’ 15-a-side Tournament hosted at their home in Ipswich. 12 of the best rugby schools in England were joined by 4 guests from Scotland, Wales and Ireland for two days of intense rugby with each match of 30 minutes duration.
What proved to be an exhausting yet rewarding occasion, saw Captain John Creighton’s men qualify for Sunday’s Trophy competition following their 3 Saturday pool matches against hosts St Joseph’s, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield and Tonbridge School. To gain success on the second day was going to be a real challenge. A dogged and efficient forward display created a platform for the dangerous backs to ask questions of their opponents and wins over Whitchurch School, Millfield School and Merchiston Castle School took Campbell into the Festival Final. A closely fought match against the strong St Joseph’s side just proved a bridge too far and they finished runners-up with a 19-7 defeat.
Results – Saturday 16th October
vs St Joseph’s College Lost 14-0
vs QEGS, Wakefield Won 13-10
vs Tonbridge School Won 15-10
Results – Sunday 17th October
vs Whitchurch School Won 19-6
vs Millfield School Won 15-5
vs Merchiston Castle School Won 17-7
vs St Joseph’s College Lost 19-7 [Trophy Final]
Methodist College hosted St Mary’s College from Dublin in a game which saw a large number of both Ulster Schools’ and Leinster Schools’ players on view. In the first half St Mary’s, with their physically imposing pack, enjoyed more of the territorial advantage but it was largely a case of each team testing out what the other had to offer. Methody centre Matthew McFaul opened the scoring on 2 minutes with a well struck penalty to which St Mary’s responded with two penalty goals from out half Hugh McDonnell. After a period of Methody pressure, McFaul brought the scores level with another penalty before edging Methody in front just before half time when he converted his third penalty of the game to give his team a 9-3 half time lead.
In the second half Methody introduced Ulster Schools U18 representatives Rory Winters and James Harrison from the bench and within five minutes had extended their lead after a great break from centre Ryan Martin resulted in him scoring close to the St Mary’s posts, allowing Matthew McFaul to convert and put his team into a 16-3 lead. Methody then pressed home their advantage and after a period of sustained pressure out half, Adam Berry, beat two defenders to cross the St Mary’s line for a try which McFaul also managed to convert. The Belfast team now had a 23-3 lead but St Mary’s responded immediately by threatening the Methody line but although the Methody defence held firm in open play St Mary’s managed to reduce the deficit from a five metre scrum when their No. 8, Mark Sexton, barged his way over for a try which Hugh McDonnell converted from close to the touchline to set up the possibility of an exciting finish.
Methodist College, however, maintained their composure and almost extended their lead after having gone through a number of phases but the final pass was knocked on close to the St Marys line. However, not to be denied Methody continued to press and Jaz Andress forced his way over for Methody’s third and final try which was not converted. This left Methody as 28-13 winners and confidently looking forward to their visit to great rivals RBAI next Saturday.
The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team hosted Down High School at the Osborne Park complex. The Down team worked hard against an Inst team that was missing a number of players due to injury. The Belfast Inst team opened the proceedings with ac Matthew McGuigan penalty to take a 3-0 lead. The Down High School team responded with a Matthew McKeown try which was not converted but his team now had a 5-3 lead. Inst replied with a Scott Houston try which Matthew McGuigan converted to regain a 10-5 lead. Matthew added a penalty just before half time to see his team into a 13-5 lead at the break. The Down team started the second half strongly with a Ben Hale try which was converted by Justin Rea to reduce the arrears to 13-12. Kevin McLean then touched down for the Belfast Inst team with a try which Matthew McGuigan converted to extend the home team lead to 20-12. Down fought back and Justin Rea kicked a penalty to take the score to 20-15. Inst scored another try through Matthew Madill to take a 25-15 lead but the Down High School team refused to stop playing and scored an unconverted try from Justin Rea, With the score now reading 25-20; could a shock result be on the cards?
The Belfast Inst team seemed to find another gear in the latter stages of the game and scored tries through Ben Alexander, Matthew Roulston, Paddy Bell and Nathan Dougan. Nathan Browne added two conversions to see the Belfast Inst team safely through this game as 49-20 winners.
Cambridge House travelled to play Carrickfergus Grammar School on the back of a recent victory at Antrim Grammar School. The opening half was even with Carrick taking an early 3-0 lead with a penalty from Andrew Fulton. Cambnridge House hit back when Matthew Harkness broke and Mark Payne raced on to score an unconverted try to take a 5-3 lead. The Carrickfergus Grammar School team responded immediately with a Jonny Moore try which Andrew Fulton converted to see his team into a 10-5 lead. Just on the half time whistle, a cross field back row move ended with Cambridge House winger Paul Rainey touching down for an unconverted try to give Cambridge House a 12-10 half time lead.
Jordan Robinson extended the Cambridge House lead to 17-10 with a well taken try but the Carrickfergus team looked dangerous when in possession. However, it was the visitors who secured the result in the last ten minutes of the game with a second try from Jordan Robinson, a try from Josh Whann as well as one from Matthew Harkness. Timmy Small added three conversions to see his team take the match by 38-10.
Perhaps the shock result of the day was at Grosvenor Grammar School where the home team played close rivals, Sullivan Upper. The Grosvenor team had lost heavily in their last game against Friends’ School but turned in a first class performance to account for the Sullivan team. The Grosvenor team had taken a 5-0 half time leads through a Peter Davidson try. Sullivan responded with a Tom Stevenson try which was converted by Ross Adair. Ross added a penalty to account for the Sullivan points. The Grosvenor team scored further tries through Mark Foster with Scott Irvine adding two conversions to see his team through this game with a 19-10 victory.
Lurgan College recorded their first win of the season when they defeated a very committed Strabane Grammar School team by 29-7. The star of the show for the Lurgan team was Greg Lyness who scored a hat trick on the occasion of his 18th birthday. Steven Buckley and Nicky Moore added two further tries with Josh McKay kicking two conversions. The Strabane team scored a converted try in the course of the game.
Ballyclare High School maintained their unbeaten run so far this season with a comfortable 30-13 victory against Limavady Grammar School. Limavady Grammar School opened the scoring with an unconverted try but the Ballyclare High School team responded immediately with a tries from Peter Ferguson and Simon Beattie. Jack Irvine added a penalty to see the home team into a 13-5 half time lead. In the second half the Ballyclare team took control and added tries from Marc Logan, Mitchell McComb and Simon Beattie. Jack Irvine kicked one conversion. The Limavady team scored a second half try as well as a penalty but it was the Ballyclare High School team that took the honours with their 30-13 victory.
Wallace High School got back to winning ways with a 24-12 win against Regent House. David Scott scored a try and kicked two conversions for the Wallace team with Patrick Hylands and Simon Gilmore scoring further tries. A tackle on Jordan Heatley, who was not in possession of the ball, resulted in a penalty try being awarded to the Wallace team. In response, Regent House scored tries through Steven Colwell and Nathan Burns with Nathan adding a conversion to the Steven Colwell try.
Across the Magheralave Road, the Friends’ School team took an first minute lead against Omagh Academy when Jack Ravey touched down for a try which Paul Anderson converted. However, this did not deter the Omagh team who responded with two Harry Gibson tries as well as one from Lee Warnock. Ashley McIlwaine added converted two of the tries as well as kicking one penalty to account for the 22 points Omagh scored in the first half. The Friends’ team scored another first half try from Paddy Ferguson as well as a Paul Anderson penalty to leave the half time score at 22-15 in favour of the Omagh team. In the second half, a Michael Cochrane inspired Friends’ team took control of the game and scored tries through Dezi Eastwood, Paul Anderson and Paddy Pringle. Paul Anderson converted two of the tries. Harry Gibson completed his hat trick of tries for the Omagh team but it was not enough as the Friends’ team won this high scoring game by 34-27.
Portadown College hosted the RS Armagh team in the “Co Armagh” derby game. The RS Armagh team blasted into a 17-0 half time lead with two tries from Stuart Hooks as well as a try from Thomas Johnston. Harry Boyd added one conversion to account for the Armagh first half tally. Ethan Gilkinson and Daniel Ewart added further RS Armagh tries in the second half with Harry Boyd completing their scoring with a conversion. The RS Armagh team had a “Man of the Match” performance from Matthew Clarke as well as an impressive 1stxv debut from Year 12 second row, Peter Eves. For the Portadown team David Busby, Michael Busby and Thomas Halliday all played well.
Bangor Grammar School overcame the challenge of Banbridge Academy when the two teams met at the Ballymacormick Road venue. Bangor took the lead with a Stuart McCloskey penalty which was quickly followed by a Craig Harper try. The Banbridge team responded with a well worked Matthew Kerr try just before the break to see the home team go into half time with an 8-5 lead. The second half was a tight affair with bothy defences working hard. The Bangor team took an 11-5 lead when Stuart McCloskey kicked a second penalty and the game was sealed on the stroke of full time when Karl Lamont touched down for a try which Stuart McCloskey converted to give the Bangor Grammar School team a hard earned 18-5 victory.
RS Dungannon hosted Portora RS in a game that saw the Co Tyrone team win for the second week in a row. All the points were scored in the first half with Dungannon tries coming from Jake Finley, Peter Nelson and John Condy. Peter Nelson converted all three tries to see his team take a 21-0 half time lead. The home team had opportunities to score in the second half but the Portora RS defence held firm. Gary Wong, Jacob McCammon and Peter Nelson all played well for the Dungannon team who were pleased wo welcome Frankie Yeun back from injury.