A round-up of the latest schools’ rugby action, by Ulster Schools’ PRO, Barney McGonigle…
There were three Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd XV Cup Round 1 games, as well as two midweek friendly games, played on Wednesday 27th November, one 1st XV friendly game on Friday 29th November. There was one final round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Group match and a 1st Round Danske Bank 3rd XV Cup match, plus a list of 1st XV friendly fixtures played on Saturday 30th November. There was also a 1st Round Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game played on Saturday 30th November.
On Wednesday 27th November, Bangor Grammar School 3rd XV played Royal Belfast Academical Institution 5th XV in the 1st Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd XV Cup. The Bangor Grammar School 3rd XV won the game by 41-5.
In the same competition, Ballymena Academy 4th XV hosted the Methodist College, Belfast 5th XV in a game which finished with the Methodist College 5th XV recording a 48-17 victory
Meanwhile, Lurgan College 3rd XV hosted Limavady Grammar School 3rd XV in a Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd XV Cup 1st Round game which the Limavady Grammar School team won by 27-0.
The Methodist College, Belfast 4th XV defeated the Royal School, Armagh 4th XV by 39-5 in their 1st Round game in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd XV Cup.
There were two 1st XV friendly games played on Wednesday 27th the Royal School, Armagh team hosted Royal Belfast Academical Institution in a high scoring game the Royal School, Armagh team won by 36-22. The Royal School, Armagh team scored six tries through Peter Taylor, James Campbell, Ross Taylor, Dylan Poyntz, James Agnew and James Allen. Ethan McAtarsney was successful with three of his conversion kicks.
The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team had taken an early 7-0 lead with a try from Jude Postlethwaite which was converted by Ronan Boyle. They scored two more tries through Paddy Eames and Jack Truesdale to which Ronan Boyle added one conversion as well as a penalty.
On the same afternoon Banbridge Academy played Grosvenor Grammar School in a game the Grosvenor Grammar School team won by 19-7
The Banbridge Academy, for whom Eoin Doyle and Mark Murphy impressed, had a good deal of possession throughout the game but found difficulty in turning the possession into points. They did score one try through Ollie Norris which was converted by Harry Patterson.
The Grosvenor Grammar School team had Adam Moore to thank for scoring two tries as well as two conversions in the course of the game. Harry Graham scored the third try for the Grosvenor Grammar School team.
On Friday 29th November Ballymena Academy hosted Kirkham Grammar School from Lancashire, one of the top school teams currently playing in England. The Ballymena Academy team lost the game by 26-15 but had been leading by 15-14 going into the last ten minutes of the game. The Kirkham team opened the scoring when they took a 7-0 lead ten minutes into the game. The Ballymena Academy team then turned down a number of potentially kickable penalty opportunities but chose the lineout option where they were met by a very strong Kirkham defence. Indeed, the Kirkham team scored a second converted try on twenty-five minutes to increase their lead to 14-0. The final few minutes of the first half saw the Ballymena Academy team lay siege to the Kirkham line. The home team got some reward for their first half endeavours when Adam Lamont crossed for a try, which was converted by Ross McKay, to reduce the Kirkham Grammar School lead to 14-7 at the interval.
The Ballymena Academy team started the second half strongly and scored an early unconverted try when Tyler McNeill benefitted from an excellent Ross McKay kick pass before he ran in for the try to reduce the arrears to14-12. Further Ballymena Academy pressure forced the Kirkham team into conceding a penalty in the sixtieth minute. Ross McKay converted the kick to see his team into a 15-14 lead with ten minutes remaining. However, two Kirkham tries in the final five minutes, one of which was converted, secured the hard earned 26-15 win for the Kirkham Grammar School team.
On Saturday 30th November Wellington College, Belfast played Antrim Grammar School in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Group match. The Wellington College, Belfast team won by 40-0 with tries from Chris Campbell, Justin Bingham and Kyle McWaters all of whom scored two tries, with Tom Stanfield adding five conversions.
In the final game in the 1st Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield competition Lurgan College Medallion played Carrickfergus Grammar School Medallion in a game the Carrickfergus Grammar School Medallion team won by 10-7.
The sixth, and final, game in the first round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd XV Cup was played when Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4th XV played Sullivan Upper School 3rd XV in a game the Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4th XV won by 24-12.
There was a series of friendly 1st XV games played on Saturday 30th November.
Belfast Royal Academy played Regent House School in a game the Belfast Royal Academy team won by 39-7. The Belfast Royal Academy team scored tries through Jack Davis, who touched down twice, Andrew Greer, Cameron Dougan, Ben Brown, Zach Burton and Ollie Parkes. Ollie Parkes was also successful with two conversions.
Harry Rogers scored the Regent House try which was converted by Adam McGrath.
Dalriada School played Ballyclare High School in a game the Ballyclare High School won team won by 48-0. The Ballyclare High School points came through tries from Jack Purdy, Josh Laney, Scott Martin, who touched down twice, Harry McBride, Jack Gamble, who ran in for two, and Callum Baird. Alex Darragh was successful with four conversion kicks.
Dromore High School travelled to play Larne Grammar School in a game the Dromore High School team won by 33-12.
The Larne Grammar School points were scored by Callum Adair who showed brilliant footwork to finish a well worked move from his backline which was started off by Euan Glenn. The second Larne Grammar School try came from their captain, Steven Dickey, who displayed great speed of thought when he took a quick tapped penalty before crossing the whitewash for a try which Euan Glenn converted.
The Dromore High School team played attractive rugby with the ball in hand at every opportunity. They scored five tries in the course of the game, three of which were scored by the impressive Xander Lowham. Adam Whitten and Ben Carey scored a try each with Luke Allison adding four conversions.
Enniskillen Royal Grammar School hosted Campbell College, Belfast and recorded an impressive 31-18 victory. David Stinson scored an early try, which Eddie Keyes converted, to give the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team a 7-0 lead. The Campbell College, Belfast team responded with two penalties from Jack Bonner to reduce their deficit to 7-6. However, a Ryan Phair try, converted by Eddie Keyes, was sufficient to send the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team into a 14-6 lead at the interval.
Tries from Callum Smyton and Robbie Mills, one of which was converted by Eddie Keyes, extended the Enniskillen ERGS lead to 26-6. The Campbell College team reduced the deficit to 26-13 when Luke Collins touched down for a try which was converted by Jack Bonner. Play went to the other end and another Enniskillen RGS try, this time from Matty Bothwell, saw the home team into a 31-13 lead going into the final few minutes. The Campbell College team did manage to score an unconverted try through the impressive Paddy McAlpine leaving the final score reading Enniskillen Royal Grammar School 31 Campbell College, Belfast 18.
Lurgan College played the Royal Belfast Academical Institution 2nd XV in a closely contested game the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team won by 21-14. Ryan Allen took advantage of some good work from Luke Forsythe before touching down for a first half try for the Lurgan College team while Justin Burns touched down for a try in the corner for the Lurgan College team in the second half. Both tries were converted by Harry Bird.
The “Match of the Day” was played on the Pristine Pirrie Park Paddock Pitch where Methodist College, Belfast entertained the Wallace High School team. The game started well for the Methodist College team with Louis Montgomery touching down for a try, which was converted by Callum Davidson, to give his team a 7-0 lead with just five minutes on the clock. Twenty-three minutes into the game a Methody pass was gratefully intercepted by Ben Carson who was delighted to run in for a try. Nathan Doak added the extras to draw the scores level at 7-7.
The second half saw the referee having to produce a Yellow Card on three occasions. When then Methody team was down a player in the opening stages of the second half the Wallace High School team took full advantage. Harry McMeekin touched down for a try, which Nathan Doak converted, to give the Wallace High School team a 14-7 lead. Going into the final ten minutes, and with the Wallace High School team numbers reduced to thirteen, the Methody team threw everything into attack. They spent the entire time in the Wallace High School Red Zone, forced the Wallace team into conceding eight penalties but could find no way past a resolute Wallace High School defence. The final whistle blew, and it was the Wallace High School team that celebrated a famous 14-7 victory at the home of Methodist College, Belfast rugby.
Omagh Academy hosted Rainey Endowed School in an exciting game the Omagh Academy team won by 22-10. Reece Braden scored an early try for the Omagh Academy team and the Jake Reid conversion gave them a 7-0 first half lead.
The Rainey Endowed School team reduced their deficit to 7-5 in the early stages of the second half when Sebastian Hastings ran in for an unconverted try. Scott Wilson then put Rory Ritchie in for an unconverted try to give the Omagh team a 12-5 lead. The Rainey team responded with an unconverted try from Ben Brown to see the scoreboard read Omagh Academy 12 Rainey Endowed School 10. Jake Reid then increased that lead to 15-10 when he converted a penalty opportunity. With little time remaining Jamie Matthews scored a try under the Rainey Endowed School posts and the Jake Reid conversion secured the 22-10 victory for the Omagh Academy team at the no-side whistle.
Royal School, Dungannon played the Coleraine Grammar School team that had missed out on a number of games in recent weeks either side of their recent Training Camp. It was a close encounter on the WK Armstrong pitch with the Coleraine team eventually recording a 24-19 victory.
The Royal School, Dungannon points came from two Jamie Allen tries as well as a try and two conversions from Jack Girvan.
The Coleraine Grammar School points came from Tom Hutchinson, Thomas Frew, Cameron Leighton and Harry Caskey, each of whom scored a try, to which Harry added two conversions.