Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 3rd September 2011: Reports, Graham Cup, Ballymena v Ballyclare, Limavady v Cambridge House, Friends’ v Antrim & Sullivan v Larne

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The Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ season got underway on Saturday 3rd September with a number of teams involved in tournaments, some teams played controlled game scenarios whilst others played full games.
At Grosvenor Grammar School the I H Graham Invitation Tournament took place with Grosvenor Grammar School, Banbridge Academy, Rainey Endowed School and Campbell College being joined by Gonzaga College from Dublin and Altrincam College from Cheshire.
The home team opened their account with a 7-0 win against Altrincam. Neil Adams scored the try with Carl Rae adding the conversion. In their second game the Grosvenor team was leading by 7-0 at half time against Campbell College Paul Kennedy scored the try which Carl Rae converted. However, a second half resurgence with a try and a goal saw the current holders of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup win the game by 12-7 to book their place in the final. The Grosvenor team finished their day with a 3rd/4th play-off game against Rainey Endowed with a first half try from Carl Rae and a second half try from Paul O’Neill sufficient to see them through this game with a 10-0 victory.
CLICK HERE FOR 200 Pictures – Thanks To Brian kennedy for taking them.

The Rainey team had opened their account with a 10-0 win against Banbridge Academy. Jamie Noble scored the only try of the game while Martin Connolly kicked a conversion as well as a penalty. The Magherafelt team lost their second game by 21-7 to the impressive Gonzaga College team with Thomas Booth scoring a try which Martin Connolly converted.

Having lost their first game to Rainey the Banbridge boys put up a good performance in their second game before going down by 22-5 against the Gonzaga College team. Their consolation try in this game came from Alex Thompson, their hard working No 8. Banbridge played Altrincam College in their final game winning this one by 5-0. The only try of this game came from the Banbridge centre, Carl Stirling
In the final of the I H Graham Trophy Campbell College played the Gonzaga College team which is coached by the former Irish Schools’ and Leinster coach, Bobby Byrne who shares the responsibility for coaching the team with the former IRFU National Schools’ Development Manager, John Murphy. The Dublin team kicked a first half penalty and scored a second half goal to win the tournament by 10-0.
Following the last game Ian Graham, an ex-King’s Scholars player and former President of the Ulster Branch presented the Graham Trophy to the captain of the victorious Gonzaga College team.

Ballymena Academy and Ballyclare High School were without a number of representative players when the two sides met at Ballyclare. The opening 15 minutes were somewhat frantic, with both sides finding their feet after the summer break. It was the home team, enjoying the better of the opening exchanges, who scored the first points of the day. After several strong surges by the pack, the Ballyclare backs moved the ball wide and full back James Beattie showed excellent pace to finish. The conversion was missed.
Ballymena replied immediately, with out-half Peter Gillespie showing clever footwork to score below the posts. Darren Geddis added the conversion to make the score 7-5. Just before the half-time break, Ballymena scored a decisive second try when Adam Kirk powered through a tackle and showed good pace to make the line. Darren Geddis was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt but the half-time whistle sounded with the score 12-5 in favour of the visitors.
After the interval, Ballyclare High enjoyed a sustained period of attack and when Patrick Millar instigated a turnover well inside the Ballymena half centre Peter Storey raced away from the covering defenders to score below the posts. Darren Geddis added another conversion which saw the Ballymena lead stretch to 19-5.
As the second half progressed the game began to open up and, with 15 minutes to go, Jordan Foster scored a fine individual try which Darren Geddis converted. In the final few minutes of the match, Jordan Foster scored his second try of the morning when he glided past several defenders to touch down in the corner.
Replacement scrum-half Nicholas Jolly scored Ballymena’s final try of the day when he showed vision to exploit a gap at the side of a ruck. Darren Geddis was unable to add the extras and the final whistle sounded with the scoreline reading 36-5 to Ballymena Academy.
Limavady Grammar School entertained St John’s School from Chile who were on one of their regular tours to this part of the world. This was the first game of the season for the Limavady side and with St John’s at the end of their season a fierce encounter was expected. Limavady, eager for the win started the game in the best way possible. After several waves of attack No 8 Samuel Neilly fended off defender after defender to score Limavady’s first points of the season. Limavady kept the pressure on the touring side by scoring another well worked try. Great work from the forward pack meant Rory Squires could break off a rolling maul and score the try. Luke Faulkner added the extras. With the last play of the half an effective pick and drive saw Ben Cummings cross the line. Faulkner converted giving Limavady a commanding 19-0 victory at the half way stage. The second half saw the Limavady team play in a more leisurely manner resulting in two tries being scored by St John’s. One of the tries was converted was converted to leave the final score at 19-12 to Limavady. A strong first half by Limavady was followed up by a weak second resulting in a close game. However, Limavady were very pleased to get a winning start to their season.
The Limavady team was in action again soon after the St John’s game when they entertained Cambridge House. After a slow start by Limavady they finally took the lead ten minutes into the game when winger John McWhirter had a simple run in to give Limavady a 5-0 lead. Scrum-half Luke Faulkner converted the try leaving the score at half time 7-0 to Limavady.
The second half saw opportunities for both sides. The Limavady pack set up a good platform for their backline who could not convert the chances. The only points of the second half went to Cambridge house. Poor defence from Limavady led to the opposition winger breaking through several tackles and score the try. The kick was not converted giving Limavady a 7-5 victory. The win ended a very successful day for this Limavady side who have started the season with a winning mentality.
Friends’ School and Antrim Grammar played out a controlled practice game while Regent House, Bangor Grammar School and Down High School played in a triangular tournament.
Sullivan Upper entertained Larne Grammar School and won by 32-7. The Larne try was scored by Ryan McAllister. The Larne team had good performances from debutant, Matthew McMaster, as well as Ryan McAllister, Sam McWhirter and Luke Brownlee.

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