Coleraine Inst v Omagh Academy
Coleraine Academical Institution hosted an Omagh Academy team that displayed typical Omagh Academy Schools’ Cup traits when the two teams met at the Castlerock Road venue in an intriguing Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round encounter which the Coleraine AI team won by 18-14. The Omagh Academy team started strongly and displayed little respect for the reputation of their illustrious opponents.
The visitors had the opportunity to take an early lead after they had turned Coleraine AI over in front of their posts. A penalty was awarded following the ensuing ruck but somehow the Omagh kicker managed to miss the kick. The Omagh Academy team kept the pressure on the Coleraine AI defence but could find no way through. Conor Shiels began to have a greater influence on the game and took play deep into Omagh Academy territory. A Coleraine AI penalty struck the upright and the ball fell to Coleraine No 8, Nick Logan. Nick was stopped just short of the Omagh line and quick ball from the ruck found Ryan Boyd. Ryan had a charge at the Omagh line but, once again, the defence was good. Once again, the home team gained quick possession and moved the ball effectively.
The Coleraine full back, Bradley Dempster, hit the attack line at good pace and timed an excellent pass to his winger, Peter Acheson. Peter finished the move with an unconverted try in the corner to give his team a 5-0 lead. The Coleraine AI team remained in the ascendancy with Mark Gordon and Nick Logan getting through a lot of work. Conor Shiels hit a drop goal, just before the interval, to see his team into an 8-0 lead at half time.
The Omagh Academy team started the second half strongly with Lloyd Kane getting through a lot of work. Adam Longwell knocked the ball on with the Coleraine AI line at his mercy. The Coleraine team then got possession from a loose Omagh Academy defensive kick. The ball was gathered by Bradley Dempster who set off on a counter attack run from inside his 22m area. Despite good defensive work by the visitors they could do little to stop a series of interplays, involving both Coleraine AI forwards and backs, leading to a try from the Coleraine AI prop, Danny McAllister.
The conversion was missed but the Coleraine AI team now had a 13-0 lead. The Omagh Academy team fought back strongly and eventually scored a deserved try through the hard-working James Catterson. Lloyd Kane added the extras to reduce the arrears to 13-7. From the restart, the Coleraine AI team took advantage of slack Omagh Academy defence. Quick possession, and good work from the Coleraine AI forwards, paved the way for Nick Logan to barge his way over the Omagh Academy line for a try. Again, the conversion was missed but Coleraine AI now had an 18-7 lead.
Back came Omagh and they took play into the Coleraine AI 22m area with their forwards going through multiple phases of play. Eventually, the ball was released to the Omagh backs and Neil MacLaine timed his pass to Dean Henderson to perfection. Dean ghosted his way past a despairing Coleraine AI defence to touch down under the posts. Lloyd Kane converted the try to reduce the arrears to 18-14 with just minutes remaining. Omagh mounted one last charge through Scott Hemphill but he was dragged into touch inside the 22m area. The final whistle blew and it was a relieved Coleraine AI team that celebrated their place in the draw for the 4th Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup with their 18-14 victory against a gallant Omagh Academy team.
Portadown College v Bangor Grammar School
Portadown College hosted Bangor Grammar School on a sticky pitch in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The home team battled strongly throughout the game but it was the Bangor Grammar School team that emerged as deserved 20-3 winners. The visitors started well and controlled both possession and territory in the opening exchanges.
Good Portadown defence, with Jonny Burns, Ross Purvis and Aaron Abraham getting through a lot of work, ensured the Portadown line remained intact. However, there was little they could do to prevent Bangor Grammar School taking a 3-0 lead when Cameron Strutt was successful with a penalty opportunity after six minutes play. Following this, the Portadown team started to come into the game with Niall Davidson displaying good game management skills. He took play deep into Bangor Grammar School territory on a number of occasions. Now it was the turn of the visitors to defend and Max Montgomery, Andrew Shaw and Matthew Stockton got through a lot of work in that respect. Niall Davidson levelled the score at 3-3 when he converted a penalty on twenty five minutes.
Niall and Ryan Calvert were causing concern in the Bangor GS defence but a couple of dropped passes, close to the Bangor GS line, ensured the line remained intact. Just before the interval a missed Portadown College penalty ensured the teams turned round with the scoreline reading 3-3.
From a poor Portadown College restart, Bangor Grammar School took play into the Portadown College 22m area. They were unable to cross the Portadown line but did take a 6-3 lead when Matthew Stockton was successful with a penalty kick five minutes after the restart. Portadown responded positively to this setback and took play deep into Bangor Grammar School territory. They came close on a number of occasions but the Bangor defence was well-organised. A clever cross field kick from Niall Davidson might have yielded a greater reward for the Portadown team only for the two home players attacking the ball to collide into each other and allow the Bangor defence to clear the pressure. Following this it was mainly all Bangor Grammar School. Play went into the Portadown 22m area and Andrew Shaw cut a great line to touch down under the Portadown posts.
Ross McCloskey converted the try to put his team into a 13-3 lead with just seven minutes remaining. Matthew Stockton sealed the game for his Bangor Grammar School team when he scrambled over for a try with just minutes remaining. Ross McCloskey was successful with the conversion to see the Bangor Grammar School teas emerge as 20-3 winners and safely into the draw for the 4th Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.
Royal School Dungannon v Belfast High School
Royal School, Dungannon hosted Belfast High School on the WK Armstrong pitch in Dungannon in their 3rd Round Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup encounter. The outcome of the game was in doubt until the last play of the game when the High School team scored a try to see the final score read 17-17.
Belfast High School started the game well and seemed to be shading both possession and territory. They had a good chance to take the lead when Jake Hutchinson was close to scoring a try only for the referee to pull back play for a crossing offence. The first score of the game came from the Royal School, Dungannon team when John Buckley intercepted a pass and ran in uncontested to touch down between the posts. The extras were added by Jack Milligan to give his team a 7-0 lead. Not long after this, Jack was successful with a penalty to increase to score to 10 -0 in favour of the home side. RS Dungannon then lost their captain, Jacob McCammon to injury. He was replaced by Michael Jones who impressed with his performance for the remainder of the game. Both teams continued to attack but the Belfast High School team found difficulty in keeping possession due to a large number of knock-on mistakes. The score remained at 10-0 in favour of the home side until the interval.
The second half started as the first had ended with Jack Milligan controlling the game well from the base of the scrums and rucks. However, it was Belfast High School who opened the scoring in the second half. Good work down the right wing from Jordan Garford and Matt Connolly saw the ball passed inside to Adam White who crossed the line close the uprights. The conversion from Robbie Reid was successful and the arrears had been reduced to 10-7. From the restart, the Dungannon team applied pressure on the visitors with good work from Jack Milligan taking play deep into the Belfast High School 22m area. An uncharacteristic mistake from the Belfast High School lineout presented the RS Dungannon team with possession which the Dungannon backs used effectively. Space was created for Matthew Montgomery who outfoxed a despairing High School defence to touch down for a try. Jack Milligan was successful with the conversion to give his team a 17-7 lead.
Belfast High School had to dig deep or they were out of this tie and dig deep they did. Their backline made better use of the possession provided by an industrious pack and they got reward for their endeavours when Matt Connolly scored a fine try in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful but the scoreline now read 17-12 in favour of the RS Dungannon team. The High School team thought they had levelled the score when Lewis Benson thought he had scored only to be adjudged as having lost control of the ball over the Dungannon line. Jordan Garford was prevented from what seemed to be a certain score by great defensive work from Jack Milligan. With just seconds remaining on the clock, Belfast High School mounted one last attack in which they managed to create an overlap. Adam White received the ball in a minimum of space but he did enough to squeeze over the line in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful but the game had finished in a 17-17 draw. Both teams will probably see this result as an opportunity missed but they will have to do it all again in a replay next week.
Foyle College v Down High School
Foyle and Londonderry College hosted Down High School with the Down team returning home secure in the knowledge they had come away with a hard-earned 24-13 win. The Down High School team set their stall out from the start of the game and missed a penalty opportunity with less than one minute on the clock. Five minutes into the game they scored the first points of the morning when Nathan Gibson took full advantage of a great lineout take by Thomas Donnan to touch down from the ensuing twenty-five metre rolling maul. The try was not converted but the Down High School team had a 5-0 lead. Midway through the first half Down High School gained good field position and Ricky Gill stormed through the Foyle College defence to score close to the posts. Luca Rea converted the try to see his team into a 12-0 lead. Just before the interval, Neil Burns reduced the arrears to 12-3 when he converted a penalty chance for his team.
Foyle College started the second half in a much more positive mood. Ten minutes into the second half they missed a chance to reduce the score to 12-6 when a penalty opportunity was missed. Shortly after this, the Foyle College team had another opportunity to reduce the arrears. This time, Neil Burns converted a penalty to take the score to 12-6. The Foyle College team scented out a degree of concern in the Down High School ranks. Centre, Ryan Curry, ran in for his 4th try in two games which Neil Burns converted to put the Foyle College team into a 13-12 lead for the first time in the game. The Down High team responded in the best possible way when Kelvin Hamilton ran in for an unconverted try to take the score to 17-13 in favour of his Down High School team. Luca Rea converted that try to increase the Down High lead to 19-13. Down High School then secured their win with a well-taken try from Thomas McCavera who scrambled over the Foyle College line despite the attentions of three would be defenders. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Down High School team had secured a 24-13 win and a place in the draw for the 4th Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.
Regent House v Rainey Endowed
Regent House hosted renowned Schools’ Cup campaigners, Rainey Endowed. In a close encounter the Regent team was delighted to emerge as 10-8 winners. The Rainey Endowed team started well by kicking off and taking the game deep into Regent House territory. They pressurised the Regent House defence into giving away a number of penalties and, from a quickly taken penalty six metres from the Regent line, the Rainey Endowed captain, Michael Dawson, took the ball forward. Oisin Quinn then got possession and forced his way over the Regent House line. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Rainey Endowed team had a 5-0 lead after just three minutes on the clock. This seemed to unsettle the home side and further Rainey pressure resulted in a penalty just outside the Regent House 22m line. The Rainey outhalf, Aaran Murphy, stepped up to convert the penalty to increase the score to 8-0 in favour of the Magherafelt boys. The Regent team now began to play with more purpose and, following some strong midfield tackling by the Regent centres, Aaron Culbert and Aaron Reid, the ball was turned over. Regent attacked the blind side of a ruck and good handling led to outhalf, Peter Eakin, sprinting into the corner for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the arrears had been reduced to 8-5. The Rainey team now threw everything into attack but the Regent House team defended heroically inside their 22m area for the remainder of the half which ensured the halftime score read 8-5 in favour of the Rainey Endowed team at the interval.
The second half saw Regent House attack more frequently with ferocious tackles coming in from both sides. On forty seven minutes a Rainey clearance kick was fielded on the left by the Regent House defence. The ball was spread across their back line and the attack ended with right winger, Rhys Thompson, sprinting in for an excellent counter attack try. The try was not converted but the Regent team now had a 10-8 lead. For the remainder of the game Regent had territorial advantage forcing the visitors back into their 22m area with astute kicks from Regent No 10, Peter Eakin, and probing breaks by captain and scrum half, Gary Wright, causing considerable concern for the Rainey Endowed School team. Man of the Match, Regent House No 7, Jonny Baird, was to the fore at the break down and put in a number of outstanding tackles. The Regent House front row trio of Matty Kane, Blair Savage and Jared Purvis had the upper hand in the scrum. This enabled their forwards to have a secure platform in the second half thereby denying the Rainey Endowed team any worthwhile possession. This ensured the final score read Regent House 10 Rainey Endowed School 8.
Three of the scheduled Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round games were postponed.
Belfast Royal Academy v Carrickfergus Grammar School, Grosvenor Grammar School v Dalriada School and Friends’ School v Limavady Grammar School all fell victim to the inclement weather conditions prevailing on Friday. These games, along with the Belfast High School v Royal School, Dungannon replay are due to be played on Wednesday 30th January.
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