Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 18th December 2010

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Despite the arrival of more extreme weather conditions which impacted on the games scheduled to take place on Saturday 18th December, a number of schools did manage to get games played either on tour to warmer climes or midweek prior to the onset of the extreme weather.
The RS Dungannon team played two tour games on their recent tour to Rome. The tour proved to be a success both rugby wise and from a cultural perspective. The first game played by the Dungannon team was against the Unione Capitolina Rugby Club U19 team, a team that has provided opposition for a number of schools from the Province over recent seasons. The game was played on a 4G Astro turf surface, a new experience for the RS Dungannon team. The Tyrone boys started strongly with a try from Peter Nelson in the opening few minutes of the game to give them a 5-0 lead. A great break from the restart by the Royal School No 8, Stephen Rogers, paved the way for a second Peter Nelson try. Peter converted this try to put his team into a 12-0 lead. Andrew Clingan then put a big hit in on the home fullback which led to the RS Dungannon team securing turn over ball. Sean Ho took full advantage of this and after a great line break, scorched in for an excellent try. Peter Nelson added the conversion to see his team into a 19-0 half time lead. The RS Dungannon team maintained their possession and territorial advantages in the second half of the game. Peter Nelson continued his control of the game when he produced a cross kick which was gathered by Peter Cashel. Peter made no mistake in touching down for an unconverted try to put his team 24-0 ahead. Andrew Clingan made a break from the midfield area and proceeded to find Frankie Yeun running a great support line. Andrew made a great off load which was gratefully accepted by Frankie who outpaced the home defence to score under the posts. Peter Nelson added the conversion to extend the RS Dungannon lead to 31-0. The Dungannon team went on to finish with a flourish with John Condy touching down for their final try to see the RS Dungannon team finish the game as 36-0 winners. Next up for the Dungannon boys was a game against the Lazio Rugby Club U19 team. Both teams started strongly but it was the Dungannon team that took an early 3-0 lead through a Peter Nelson penalty. Peter Cashel then got in on the act when he gathered his own kick to score in the corner. The conversion was missed but the RS Dungannon team had an 8-0 lead. Peter Nelson continued with his try scoring exploits from the first game to touch down under the Lazio posts. Peter converted his try to see his team into a 15-0 lead. Just before the halftime whistle, the RS Dungannon team scored their third try of the game when John Condy made the most of a Peter Nelson break. The RS Dungannon team was now well in control of the game with a 20-0 lead. Peter Nelson showed his undoubted class and ability by touching down for three second half tries, all of which he converted. Peter Cashel, Sean Ho and Andrew Clingan added further second half tries one of which was converted by Peter Nelson. This ensured that the RS Dungannon team won their second tour game by 58-0. The cultural side of the tour saw Keith Patton and Jonny Willis, the RS Dungannon coaches, double up as tour guides around Rome. The squad visited many of the places to see in Rome including the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon as well as the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. The tour proved to be an outstanding success for the players and the coaching staff. The players got a great confidence boost from their performances and they would like to thank the Principal of the Royal School, Dungannon, Mr David Barnett, the Governors and Staff of the school, the Parents/Guardians of the players, the coaching staff and especially Mr Keith Patton, for all their support and work in putting the tour together. The success of the tour will ensure that it will be a confident RS Dungannon team that will host Antrim Grammar School in the second round of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup on Saturday 8th January 2011.
Rainey Endowed School hosted Foyle and Londonderry College in a game where the Rainey team was hoping to reverse the result of a game played earlier in the season. With neither side having played in the past three weeks, both teams were delighted to get the chance to play. The Foyle team started very quickly and set out their intentions by moving the ball at every opportunity. The visitors missed a chance to take the lead with a mishit penalty early in the game. However, shortly after this their enterprising approach paid off when Jordan Cairns touched down for a try which Chris Campbell converted to give them a 7-0 lead. The Foyle team continued to dominate territory as well as possession which made it difficult for the home team to get any sort of decent field position. On a rare venture into the Foyle and Londonderry half, Rainey saw their centre, Clarke Lennox, gain good ground. The Rainey forwards then took over and after a series of drives at the Foyle line, Owen Devlin eventually crashed his way over the whitewash to touchdown for a try. Martin Connolly added the conversion to take the score to 7-7. The Foyle team went back on the attack from the restart and turned down the opportunity to convert a number of penalty opportunities. Eventually, their patience paid dividends when Conor Cummings touched down in the corner, for an unconverted try, to put his team into a 12-7 lead. The first half finished with the Foyle team on the attack and the Rainey team holding out in defence. The Foyle and Londonderry College team made the ideal start to the second half when Ian Vance cut through some poor Rainey tackling to off load to Neil Burns who went on to score an unconverted try in the corner and put his team into a17-7 lead. Things looked ominous for the Rainey team but they did get some encouragement with good work from Damien Devlin, Matthew Stewart and Martin Connolly. Jamie Burrows made the most of the good work from his team mates to touch down in the corner. Martin Connolly converted the try to reduce the arrears to 17-14. Both teams went on the attack and both teams produced some exciting passages of play. Despite losing Jamie Burrows to injury, the Rainey team kept their composure which saw Philip Caulfield score a great try close to the touchline. Martin Connolly converted the try to see the Rainey Endowed team take a 21-17 lead. The Foyle team threw everything at the Rainey defence but the home team scented a win. Luke Steele and Michael Dawson worked tirelessly in defence to ensure their line remained intact. In the last few minutes of the game the Foyle defence had to work hard to stop Damien McMurray from increasing the Rainey lead and he was stopped close to the Foyle line on a couple of occasions. Credit is due to the players on both teams for playing out such an entertaining game which the Rainey Endowed team was delighted to win by 21-17.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution hosted Down High School in a midweek fixture at the Bladon Park venue. The Belfast Inst team opened the scoring with a Matthew McGuigan penalty closely followed by an unconverted try from their captain, Paddy Bell. With an 8-0 lead the home team was well in control but the Down High School mounted a revival in the latter stages of the first half. Justin Rea kicked two penalties to take the half time score to 8-6 in favour of the Belfast Inst team. John McClure extended the lead for the Belfast Inst team with a well worked try. Matthew McGuigan added the extras to see the Belfast Inst team into a 15-6 lead. Down High School responded with an unconverted try from Jack Calvert to take the score to 15-11 in favour of the Belfast Inst team before the game finished slightly earlier than planned due to poor light.

Ballyclare High School had to switch their scheduled midweek home fixture against Ballymena Academy to the Ballymena Academy grounds because of a frozen pitch at the Ballyclare High School grounds. This seemed to unsettle the Ballyclare team who made uncharacteristic defensive mistakes which enabled the Ballymena Academy team to score two first half tries. Callum Patterson opened the scoring with a well struck penalty to put his Ballymena team into a 3-0 lead. Jonny McClelland then scored an unconverted try to put his team into an 8-0 lead. Just before half time, Peter Wallace touched down for a try which Callum Patterson converted to put the home team into a 15-0 half time lead. The Ballyclare High School team finally got some rhythm into their game in the opening exchanges of the second half. They dominated the first twenty minutes of the second period of play and got some reward for their endeavours when Jonny Darling scored a try following good work from Jonny Holmes. The conversion was missed but the scoreline was now 15-5. The Ballymena team was well organised in defence and ensured that their line would not be crossed again. The score remained at 15-5 in favour of the home team at the final whistle to ensure a Ballymena Academy victory and the first loss of the season for the Ballyclare High School team.
Friends’ School travelled to Larne Grammar School to take part in a series of training games with the Larne Grammar School team. Not having played for a number of weeks the Friends’ team was delighted to have the opportunity to work with a team that had managed to get some games played in recent weeks, thanks in no small way to the Larne Grammar School groundsman, Barry Strain. Both teams had the opportunity to play scrum and lineout attack and defence options as well as a final twenty minute no kicking game. An interested spectator was ex Ulster scrum half, Isaac Boss, a player that continues to take a great interest in the schools’ game in the Province due to his association with rugby at Friends’ School. Larne Grammar School coach, Jonny Lowe, was pleased with the standard achieved by his players in the course of the afternoon. Billy Brown, Philip Andrew, Ethan Kerr and Ross Williamson all felt the training games were ideal as they prepare to travel to play Portora Royal School in the second round of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup on 8th January. The Friends’ School coach, Stephen Robinson, was delighted with the way that players such as Rory McIvor, Michael Cochrane, Desi Eastwood, Paul Anderson, Dean Howes and Paddy Pringle responded to the controlled game scenario.
Campbell College and Belfast Royal Academy played in a midweek fixture at Malone Rugby Club on Wednesday afternoon. The Campbell College team scored an unconverted try, early in the game, through Shane Moffett to give them a 5-0 lead. Rory Scholes extended that lead to 8-0 a few minutes later when he converted a penalty opportunity. The Belfast Royal Academy team reduced the arrears to 8-7 when Andrew McClements ran in for a try which Robbie Jamison converted. Five minutes before the half time whistle Chris Best scored a try for the Campbell College team. Rory Scholes added the conversion to see his team into a 15-7 half time lead. Shortly after the restart the Campbell team extended their lead to 22-7 when Sam Crawford scored a try which Rory Scholes converted. Belfast Royal Academy responded with a try from their hard working back row forward, Ryan Clarke. Robbie Jamison converted the try to reduce the arrears to 22-14. However, it was a case of too little, too late for the Belfast Royal Academy team. The Campbell team dominated territory as well as possession in the final quarter of the game. They ran in four unconverted tries through Chris Best, Jack Cooke and Rory Scholes, who touched down twice. These tries took the final score to 42-14 in favour of the Campbell College team.
The Athletics Stores sponsored Methodist College team took themselves of on tour to Spain and Portugal for two games. They played the full Spanish U18 team in an intriguing match in Vigo on Saturday afternoon. The Spanish team is the same team that will take part in the AER/FIRA U18 Tournament later in the season so the Methody team knew that the game would provide them with a severe test of their credentials. The Methodist College boys turned in a great display to win the game by 20-17. The” Man of the Match” award went to their star back row forward, Rory Winters. Rory got through an immense amount of work in the course of the game and managed to weigh in with three tries. Mark Gribben added one conversion as well as a penalty to account for the Methody points. As well as Rory Winters, James Harrison, Dan Kerr, Ross Kane, Ryan Annett, Jaz Andress, Peter Logan and David McIlhinney all featured strongly in this Methodist College success. The Methodist College squad now move on to the Portuguese town of Arcos de Valdevez where they will play against the CRAV U18 team on Monday 20th December.
Regent House toured to Portugal where they stayed at Brown’s Sports and Leisure Complex close to Vilamoura, a facility that has hosted teams from all over the world. The tour was designed as a training programme as well as two games against local opposition. The Regent squad arrived on Tuesday 14th December and had an afternoon training session. Another training session was held on Wednesday morning with an afternoon game, played on the impressive pitch facilities at the Brown’s complex, against a Vilamoura U18 team. Regent House won this game comfortably with all squad members getting game time. Two training sessions took place on Thursday 16th before the squad travelled to play an evening game against a Loule U18 team. Regent House captain, Steven Colwell, led his team by example scoring the majority of tries in both these games. The Regent team shared their facilities with Carrickfergus Grammar School and played a controlled game against the Carrickfergus team on Friday 17th. The Regent team scored tries through Stephen Deering, Jonny Quigg and Ryan Doherty in the course of this game. The Regent squad was able to enjoy a little R&R in the course of their trip to Portugal. Trips to the Vilamoura Marina and shopping centre as well as a paint balling expedition were enjoyed by the entire party. The players would like to thank the Principal of Regent House, The Governors and Staff of Regent House, the Parents/Guardians of the players, David Wells Tours, Mr Eric Sinnamon and Mr Peter Lowry for their support and hard work in organising this successful tour. Northland Developments sponsored the playing jerseys for the tour party with Philip Gill & Co providing sponsorship for tour training tops and t-shirts. The Regent House squad is grateful to their sponsors for their generosity.
The Carrickfergus Grammar School team was in residence at the Brown’s Sports Complex at the same time as Regent House. Like their Regent House counterparts, the Carrickfergus squad made full use of the facilities available at the Brown’s complex. The 3G pitch, swimming pool and fitness suite were all well used for training sessions and the Carrickfergus team played a game against the Huelva RFC U18 team, based a short journey across the border in Spain. The Carrickfergus team won the game comfortably with all their players getting game time. There were good performances from players such as Marcus Elliott, Andrew Fulton, Marc Gordon, Ryan Hamilton, Matthew Logan and Jamie McLean. As well as training and playing the players had the opportunity to visit the Vilamoura Marina and shopping centre as well as take part in some fun on the local Go-Karting track. The entire Carrickfergus Grammar School squad arrived back safely after some renegotiating of flights and everyone felt the tour was ideal in terms of preparation for their forthcoming Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 game against close rivals, Belfast High School, on January 8th 2011. The entire squad would like to thank the Principal of Carrickfergus Grammar School, the Governors and Staff, as well as the Parents/Guardians of the players for their support for the tour. A special word of thanks goes to Mr McClintock, Mr Martin and Mr Ford for all their hard work in organising the tour and accompanying the players on tour.
The Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round 2 draw took place at Ravenhill on Wednesday 15th December. Mr John Wilson, Chairman of the Ulster Schools’ Rugby Committee and ex Banbridge Academy, Banbridge RFC, Dungannon RFC, Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions player, Tyrone Howe welcomed representatives from 26 of the rugby playing schools in the Province to the draw. The Round 2 draw was as follows:-
Royal School, Dungannon v Antrim Grammar School.
Carrickfergus Grammar School v Belfast High School
Portadown College v Wellington College
Portora Royal School v Larne Grammar School
Cambridge House School v Grosvenor Grammar School
Omagh Academy v Rainey Endowed School
These games are due to take place on Saturday 8th January 2011 after which the draw for the 3rd Round will take place. At this stage the six winning teams will be joined in the 3rd Round by Friends’ School, Regent House, Foyle and Londonderry College, Coleraine Academical Institution, Limavady Grammar School, Dalriada School, Banbridge Academy, Sullivan Upper, Bangor Grammar School and Down High School. The 3rd Round games are scheduled to take place on Saturday 22nd January 2011. The eight winners of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd Round will be joined in the draw for the 4th Round by the top eight seeded teams from Belfast Royal Academy, Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Royal School, Armagh, Wallace High School, Campbell College, Ballyclare High School, Ballymena Academy and Methodist College. The 4th Round games are scheduled to be played on Saturday 5th February 2011. The Quarter Finals are scheduled for Saturday 19th February with the Semi-Finals scheduled for Monday 28th February and Wednesday 2nd March. The Final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup is due to be played at Ravenhill on Thursday 17th March 2011.

The Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup competition got underway with some of the 1st Round games played during the week.
Banbridge Academy 27 Royal School, Armagh 4thxv 10, Portadown College 26 Wallace High School 4thxv 5, Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4thxv 39 Grosvenor Grammar School 5, Ballymena Academy 36 Ballyclare High School 10.

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