Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 29th October 2011 ~ Ballymena A v Down H (+ Pictures), RS Armagh, RBAI, Omagh A, Lurgan C, Cambridge H, Rainey E, Regent H, Grosvenor G, Ballyclare H, Banbridge A, Loretto C, Foyle C, Coleraine A, Limavady G

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There was one midweek game played when Banbridge Academy hosted Loretto College from Edinburgh. The visitors started the game strongly, running in a try after just minutes on the clock. The try was converted to give the Edinburgh School an early 7-0 lead. The Banbridge team responded positively to this setback and threatened the Loretto line on a number of occasions. However, the Scottish School defended well and the Banbridge team had to rely on the trusty boot of their scrum half, Aaron Kennedy, to bring them back into the game with two first half penalties. This left the half time score at 7-6 in favour of the visitors. The Banbridge Academy defence was found wanting in the opening exchanges of the second half and the Loretto College attack took full advantage by running in a try to give them a 12-6 lead. Once again the Banbridge Academy players responded well and good team work provided their energetic prop, Harry Russell, with the opportunity to score a try. Aaron Kennedy converted to give the home team a 13-12 lead. The Banbridge team had to defend this lead and almost succeeded in doing so only to see the Loretto College team convert a penalty opportunity in the closing minutes of the game thereby ensuring that the Edinburgh team returned home with a 15-13 victory at the end of this very close game.

Despite the onset of a well-deserved half term break in the schools there was still a number of games played on Saturday 29th October. Ballymena Academy hosted Down High School. The Down High School team made the Ballymena team, without Matthew Rea who was at the Ireland U19 camp in Dublin; work hard for their 24-13 win. For Ballymena Academy Nicholas Sterling, Peter Storey and Darren Geddis were among the points scorers while Jack Calvert scored a try for Down High with Justin Rea kicking two penalties as well as a conversion.
Foyle and Londonderry College hosted their Co Londonderry rivals, Coleraine Academical Institution, at the Springtown venue. The Foyle team started well and scored two early tries with Stephen Chi getting the touchdowns. Kyle Henderson added both conversions to see his team into a 14-0 lead after only twenty minutes. Luke Scott scored an unconverted try for the Coleraine AI team to redress the balance to 14-5. Just before the half time whistle, the Foyle team increased their lead to 19-5 when Ryan Curry ran in for an unconverted try. Early in the second half Peter Kidd scored a try for the Coleraine AI team, which was converted by Mikey Poskitt, to take the score to 19-12. Stephen Chi completed a “Man of the Match” performance when he scored his third try of the game midway through the second half. The try was not converted but it did ensure a Foyle and Londonderry College victory by 24-12. Despite difficult weather conditions both teams contributed greatly to an entertaining game.
Limavady Grammar School maintained their unbeaten run with a hard earned win against a depleted Regent House team when the two teams met in Limavady. Early pressure from the visitors paved the way for an early Aaron Reid try. The try was not converted but the Regent House team had a 5-0 lead. A loose kick from the Regent defence shortly after this score presented an opportunity for the Limavady winger, Aaron Rainey. Aaron continued his recent run of good form when he outpaced the Regent defence to score a try under the Regent posts. Luke Carmichael converted the try to give his team a 7-5 lead. Following this score neither side could capitalise on the opportunities provided so the score at the end of the first half remained at 7-5 to the Limavady Grammar School team. The second half saw a much more determined Limavady side and with the forwards providing clean ball for the backs, Regent House found themselves pinned back in their own twenty two metre area. The Limavady pack contested well at the lineout and as a result of turnover ball flanker, Sam Mackey, crossed the Regent line for a try. Luke Faulkner once again added the extras to give his team a 14-5 lead. From the restart, the Limavady side upped the intensity another notch and the visiting side once again found themselves defending their try line as a result of clever kicking from the half backs. It was only a matter time before another home try was scored and Richard Boyd duly obliged by crossing the Regent House line after excellent work from his pack. Again the two points were added by Luke Faulkner to put the Limavady Grammar School team into a 21-5 lead. With just minutes remaining the Regent team spurned a golden opportunity to score but the ball was dropped with the Limavady line at their mercy. This ensured that the Limavady Grammar School team emerged as 21-5 winners with their unbeaten record this season still intact.
Grosvenor Grammar School provided a stern test of the credentials on the talented Ballyclare High School team when the two sides clashed at the Cameronian Drive venue. The home team stormed into a 7-0 lead when Steven Kirk collected a loose ball on the half way line and run in past a bemused Ballyclare High School defence to touch down for a try. Peter Davison added the conversion to give his team the lead. The Ballyclare team set about redressing the balance and got rewarded for their enterprising approach when Marc Logan scored a try following a well worked lineout move. Jonny Holmes added the conversion to draw the score level at 7-7. Both teams were determined to attack at every opportunity and the Grosvenor team scored a fine try. A great break by the Grosvenor centre, Paul Kennedy enabled him to gain ground before timing his pass perfectly to Scott Irvine. Scott completed the move to score the try which was converted by Peter Davison to give the Grosvenor team a 14-7 half time lead. The Ballyclare High School team started the second half strongly and took full advantage of the wind in their backs to gain a territorial advantage. They pressurised the home defence and this pressure eventually paid off when Peter Ferguson scored a try in the corner. The conversion attempt was missed but the arrears had been reduced to 14-12. Towards the end of the game Jonny Holmes took full advantage of a good break from his scrum half to touch down under the Grosvenor Grammar School posts. Jonny added the conversion to see his Ballyclare High School team emerge as 19-14 winners of this game.
Omagh Academy entertained Lurgan College with difficult underfoot as well as overhead conditions at the Campsie venue ensuring there was little flow to the game. The home team was missing three first choice forwards due to injury and had some problems in curbing the youthful exuberance of the visitors in the opening exchanges of the game. They had to defend strongly and denied the Lurgan team a number of try scoring opportunities. The Lurgan team did take a 3-0 lead when their outhalf converted a penalty opportunity. Close to the interval the Omagh pack started to take control of the situation and kept possession of the ball through a series of phase plays. Eventually, the ball was released to the Omagh backs and space was created which enabled Ryan Mitchell to score a try in the corner. The conversion was missed but the Omagh Academy team now had a 5-3 lead which they held until the interval. The second half saw both teams encounter a series of handling errors with the only scores coming from penaltiy kicks. Both teams converted one penalty each to see the Omagh Academy team emerge as 8-6 winners.
Cambridge House hosted Rainey Endowed and took a deserved 13-8 halftime lead. Timmy Small and Andrew Cundell were among the Cambridge House scorers with Jamie Noble scoring a first half try for the Rainey team and Aaron Murphy kicking a penalty. The Rainey team dominated the second half exchanges and scored further tries Jamie Noble, Odhran McCloy and Thomas Booth. There were no conversions but the three second half tries ensured the Rainey Endowed team emerged from the game as 23-13 winners.
The big game of the day was at Royal School, Armagh who entertained Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Both teams were missing players who were attending the Ireland U18 Schools’ and Ireland U19 camp in Dublin. The Armagh boys controlled most of the proceedings in the first half. Alistair Wright kicked a penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead. Alistair increased this lead to 8-0 when he crossed the Belfast Inst line for an unconverted try. RS Armagh full back, increased the lead to 15-0 when he scored a try which was converted by Alistair Wright. Alistair took the score to 18-0 when he converted a penalty opportunity. Close to half time Belfast Inst scored their first points of the game when their outhalf, Paul Creighton, kicked a penalty to take the half time score to 18-3 in favour of the RS Armagh team. The Belfast Inst team had wind advantage in the course of the second half and they made good use of it. Fullback, Jonny Martin, ran in for a try which Paul Creighton converted to take the score to 18-10. Paul Creighton kicked two further penalties to ensure an exciting finish to the game. The RS Armagh defence has to be well organised to thwart the Belfast Inst attacks. Led by their captain, Matthew Clarke, they ensured that their line remained intact for the duration of the game ensuring that the Armagh boys celebrated a famous 18-16 victory against the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team at the final whistle.
The planned game involving the visit of Rockwell College to play Methodist College at Pirrie Park has been postponed until Saturday 12th November.

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