A number of midweek games were played prior to a full list of Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ fixtures on Saturday 8th October.
Methodist College hosted a very spirited Down High School team at Pirrie Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Due to other school commitments the Methodist College team was missing a number of frontline players including team captain, Rory Winters. The home team opened their account when James Gallagher scored a try in the corner. The conversion was missed but the Methody team had a 5-0 lead after just five minutes play. Five minutes later Rudolph Benade ran in for an unconverted try to increase the Methody lead to 10-0. Twenty five minutes into the game James Gallagher made a telling break to send Mark Gribben in for a try. Rudolph Benade converted the try to see his team into a 17-0 lead. Four minutes later Chris Gracey picked up from a 5 metre scrum to run in for an unconverted try and give his team a 22-0 lead.
Just before the interval Chris Gracey took advantage of good work from James Harrison to score his second try of the game. Rudolph Benade was successful with his conversion attempt to put the Methodist College team into the interval with a 29-0 lead. In the second half Down High School played with the elements and tried to force Methodist College back into their half of the pitch. However, on forty nine minutes Mark Gribben barged over for an unconverted try to give his team a 34-0 lead. Down put up a very committed performance and were rewarded in the last play of the game when loose head prop, Kelvin Hamilton, crossed the Methody line for an unconverted try to leave the final scoreline reading 34-5 in favour of the Methodist College team.
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Portadown entertained Belfast Royal Academy in a closely fought match on Wednesday afternoon.
Belfast Royal Academy started the game strongly retaining the ball for most of the first ten minutes. Nevertheless, it was all to no avail as the well organised Portadown College defence held firm and thwarted the waves of Academy attacks. On their first real attack the home team managed to string a number of phases together which ended with their blind side flanker, Nathan Montgomery, finding himself in space on the blind side of a ruck. He ran in to score a straight forward unconverted try to give his team a 5-0 lead. The visitors continued to press but the resolute Portadown College defence, led by centres Matthew Trouton and David Busby, ensured the Belfast Royal Academy team was unable to turn any possession into points. Throughout the remainder of the match it was the Portadown College pack which started to dominate, particularly in the scrum. It was from this platform that the Portadown backline was able to move the ball with ease. However, poor finishing and a number of wrong decisions meant that they were unable to register any more points leaving the final scoreline reading 5 – 0 to Portadown College.
Royal School, Dungannon travelled to Fox’s Field to fulfil a midweek fixture against Campbell College.
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The Tyrone team, with Andrew Clingan leading from the front, started well but soon found themselves defending for long periods of the first half. They defended well but could not prevent the Campbell College team from scoring an unconverted try twenty minutes into the game to take a 5-0 lead. The Royal School team responded almost immediately and reduced the arrears to 5-3 when Jack Milligan converted a penalty opportunity. Now it was the turn of the Campbell College team to defend as the Dungannon team took the game to them. Willie Graham, Peter Cashel, Andrew Clingan and Jack Milligan all asked questions of the home defence but they could not find a way through. In fact, a turnover by the Campbell College back row, close to their own line, paved the way for the home team to run the ball a full seventy metres and score a second unconverted try. Now leading by 10-3 the Campbell College team only sealed their 15-3 victory with their third unconverted try of the game with the final play of this entertaining game.
Ballyclare High School maintained their excellent start to the season with a 27-0 victory against Belfast High School.
James Beattie picked up a hat trick of tries with David Lawther adding a fourth. Jonny Holmes weighed in with two conversions as well as a penalty. But for a large number of handling errors, the Ballyclare High School team might have scored quite a few more points. Paddy Reid impressed with his work rate in the scrum as well his ball carrying and lifting in the lineouts. There were good performances, as well, from Andrew Butler and Matthew Brolly, for the Ballyclare High School team.
Lurgan College had racked up a number of early season victories in recent weeks including a 13-0 win against Antrim Grammar School and a 40-0 win against Wellington College.
Dean Wilson, Matthew McCann, Dean English and Mark McIlwaine had impressed with their work, both in attack and defence, ensuring that their line had not been crossed in these games. However, this was all to change when the young Lurgan team travelled to play Banbridge Academy on Saturday. Despite taking a 3-0 lead when Ben McIlwaine converted a penalty opportunity, the Lurgan team had little in the way of answers to counteract the power and pace of the Banbridge Academy team. Tom Neilly and Gareth Liggett scored first half tries with Marc Stevenson adding a conversion as well as a penalty to put his team into a 15-3 halftime lead. Flanker, Blair McDonald, No 8 Colin McGregor, centre Chrissy Watt and outhalf Marc Stevenson all added tries in the second half. Marc converted all four tries to see the Banbridge Academy team through this game as 43-3 winners.
Carrickfergus Grammar School hosted Foyle and Londonderry College and found themselves under pressure early in the game.
Kyle Henderson gave the Foyle College an early 3-0 lead when he converted a penalty opportunity. The home team drew level when they kicked a penalty kick of their own. The Foyle team increased their lead to 10-3 when Calvin Jones scored a try which Kyle Henderson converted just before the interval. The Carrickfergus Grammar School team reduced the arrears to 10-8 with a try midway through the second half. Adam Anderson increased the Foyle and Londonderry College lead to 15-8 when he touched down for an unconverted try. The game was sealed for the Foyle team when Kyle Henderson kicked a penalty to leave them 18-8 winners at the no side whistle.
Grosvenor Grammar School had a comprehensive win against Friends’ School.
The Lisburn team took an early 3-0 lead with a Ross Robinson penalty. However, from that stage on it was all Grosvenor Grammar School. Stuart Smyth scored two tries as did Steven Marshall and Paul Kennedy. Sam Purdon, Stuart Bailie and Matthew Cahoon all weighed in with one try each for the rampant Grosvenor Grammar School team. Peter Davidson added eight out of nine conversions to leave the final score reading 61-3 to Grosvenor Grammar School. One of the positive things to come out of the game from a Friends’ point of view was the return to action of Dean Howes following a long lay-off.
Royal School, Armagh travelled to Dublin to play a Blackrock College U17 Select xv.
The Armagh boys built up a 17-3 half time lead with tries from Daniel Reaney and Thomas Johnston. Ali Wright added two conversions as well as a penalty. The Blackrock team staged something of a revival in the second half scoring two tries as well as a conversion. The final scoreline read 17-15 in favour of the Royal School, Armagh team following their good performance in very difficult conditions. This was a fast, physical game which provided valuable experience for the R S Armagh team. Stuart Hooks, Thomas Johnston, Matthew Clarke and Michael Hoey all impressed with their committed style of play while John Huston put in a “Man of the Match” performance.
Ballymena Academy hosted Methodist College for the annual fixture that sees the schools contest the Young Cup.
Both teams had made an unbeaten start to the season and a close contest was anticipated. Methody settled early and enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening ten minutes. However, strong Ballymena defence meant that the Methody team was unable convert this pressure into points. Ballymena’s first extended period of attacking pressure resulted in a penalty which was converted by Darren Geddis. Shortly afterwards, Rudolph Benade made the score 3 – 3 when he confidently struck his first penalty of the morning. Ballymena continued to apply pressure deep in the Methody half but the away team’s defence remained solid. Just before the half-time break Darren Geddis added his second penalty to leave the score reading 6 – 3 at the interval. The majority of the second half proved to be a more one-sided affair, with Methody dominating both territory and possession. In a ten minute period in the middle of the second half, Methody scored two decisive tries through James Gallagher and Rudolph Benade with Rudolph converting his own try. With the score now reading 18 – 6, it was the home team who finished strongly. However, despite an extended period spent near the Methody line, Ballymena could not force their way over the try line and the final whistle sounded with the Belfast school well deserved winners. Following the match it was a delighted Methodist College captain, Rory Winters, who received the Young Cup.
Portadown College maintained their recent run of good form when they played Down High School on Saturday.
Down High started the game well and retained the ball for long periods of the opening exchanges. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty from Justin Rea to give his team a 3-0 lead early in the game. The Portadown team was slow to start but when they built their way into the game they began to assert their power. Once again the platform was set by the strong scrummaging from the College pack which allowed scrum half, Ryan Calvert, to enjoy the space and time to drive probing balls in behind the Down High defence. The continued pressure allowed centre Matthew Trouton to release his midfield partner David Busby into space where he showed his opposite number a clean pair of heals to race in under the posts for a try which was converted by his twin brother, Michael, to give the Portadown College team a 7-3 lead. Another penalty from Michael Busby just before half time meant the College team went into the break leading by 10-3. The Portadown team started the second half strongly and, after a period of patient build up, saw Nathan Montgomery release winger Neil Cully to run in for a simple unconverted try to put his team into a 15-3 lead. A third penalty from Michael Busby saw the College side stretch their lead to 18 – 3. Down High responded as the College team seemed to take their foot of the pedal which allowed the Down High side drive over for a deserved try which was scored by Luc Bonnargent, son of former Portadown RFC hooker, Patrice! The College side responded well and following some excellent build up play led by No 8 Matthew Thornton and debutant Aaron Abraham, saw the ball moved quickly to winger Louis Pearson, who beat his opposite winger for pace to score an excellent try and seal the game for the jubilant College side by 23-8.
Limavady Grammar maintained their 100% record with a win away at Bangor Grammar School.
The beginning of the game witnessed good exchanges from both sides, with each team defending their twenty-two in the first ten minutes. It was only until a well worked lineout and quick hands from the backline, did Aaron Rainey score in the corner by out-pacing his opposite number. The try was not converted but Limavady Grammar School now had a 5-0 lead. Following this score, sustained pressure from the Bangor side and ill-discipline at the breakdown resulted in a penalty being awarded to the home team. The kick at goal was missed and Limavady responded with another try from Aaron Rainey following good rucking and quick hands from the Limavady Grammar School backs. Once again the try was not converted and the score at the end of the first half was 10-0 in favour of Limavady Grammar. The second half got off to a slow start, as a result of silly errors from the visiting side. However, Limavady got back into their stride with another score from Aaron Rainey to complete his hat trick. Luke Faulkner duly added the extras to give his team a 17-0 lead. Bangor replied with a try in the corner taking advantage of a lapse in concentration among the Limavady defenders. The try was converted making the score 17-7. As the second half was coming to an end, the Limavady pack dominated the set pieces. It was not long before fullback, Robert Lamberton, cut through the Bangor defence taking an excellent running line to score under the posts. The try was converted by Michael Barr and the score at the final whistle was 24-7 in favour of the Limavady Grammar School team. Richard Boyd, Rory Squires, Adam Miller, John Fallows and Sam Mackey all impressed for the very confident Limavady Grammar School team.
Larne Grammar School hosted a Rainey Endowed team keen to get back to winning ways following two recent defeats.
The Rainey team blasted into a 33-5 halftime lead with tries from Chris Moffett, Ryan Brown, Matthew Stewart, Ohran McCloy and Jack McCalmont. Martin Connolly added four conversions. The Larne team staged a tremendous comeback in the second half with players such as Ryan McAllister, Nathan McCullough, Connor weir and Calum Paton all impressing. However, it was the Rainey team, who scored their sixth try of the game through Jonathan Lees, that ran out as deserved 38-20 winners when the final whistle sounded.
Royal School, Dungannon had been playing well in recent games without getting the reward of any victories.
However, this was all to change when Omagh Academy arrived to play in Dungannon. The home team opened their account when Peter Cashel was able to take advantage of good work from his pack to touch down for an unconverted try in the corner. The Omagh team responded positively to this setback to score a try through Adam Longwell. Andy Allen added the conversion to see his team into a 7-5 lead. The Royal School team took play deep into Omagh territory from the restart. The team showed great patience going through numerous phases before Andrew Clingan blasted his way over the Omagh line to touch down for a try. Jack Milligan added the extras to give his team a 12-7 lead. Close to the interval a good running line from Robert McLean created the opportunity for Stuart Moore to run in for an unconverted try and give his team a 17-7 halftime lead. The Omagh team caused a few moments of concern for the RS Dungannon defence in the second half with Greg Deazley proving to be a livewire. However, the visitors spent a long period of time in defending their line which remained intact despite the best efforts of Andrew Clingan and Adam Clarke. Just before the final whistle, Peter Cashel did manage to breach the Omagh defence when he scored a try having outflanked his opposite number. Jake Finlay converted the try to ensure a 24-7 win for his Royal School, Dungannon team.
Wallace High School entertained Belfast Royal Academy with both teams keen to get back to winning ways following recent setbacks.
In a very close, but entertaining encounter, it was the Wallace team that emerged as 20-13 winners. Adam Dickson and Jordan Heatley scored tries for the Wallace team with David Scott adding two conversions as well as two penalties. The Belfast Royal Academy team played with great determination throughout the game with David Patterson and Daniel Dass impressing with their performances.