A round-up of the latest schools’ rugby action, by Ulster Schools’ PRO, Barney McGonigle…
With the Ulster Age Grade season almost finished, most schools playing on Saturday 11th September would have been back to almost full strength when it came to selection for these games.
There was one game played on Friday 10th September when Omagh Academy and Down High School played a game that was hosted on an excellent pitch by Friends’ School, Lisburn.
The Omagh Academy team, having built up a 19-0 by the break, went on to win the game by 22-10. The Omagh team made good use of the new 50:22 kick law and scored two tries following linesout in the Down High School 22m area. The first one came from Allister Crawford and the second one from Jamie Matthews. Andrew Johnston, whose kicking set up the initial attacks, was successful with one conversion to see his team into a 12-0 lead. Ben Hamilton then took advantage of a great break from Joshua Kyle before he touched down for a try. Andrew Johnston added the extras to see his team safely into the interval with a 19-0 lead.
In the second half the Down High School team upped their game and scored two unconverted tries, with Rhodri Philips and Reuben McKibbin getting the touchdowns. An Andrew Johnston penalty extended the Omagh Academy lead to 22-10 and strong Omagh defence, in the final minutes of the game, secured the 22-10 victory for the Omagh Academy team. Both teams, and their coaches, would like to thank the Principal, PE staff and the ground staff at Friends’ School, Lisburn for the use of their facilities.
On Saturday 11th September Belfast Royal Academy played Ballyclare High School at the JC Picken playing fields at Roughfort. Both teams used the game as an opportunity to use extended squads with quite a few players getting their first game in eighteen months and a number of Year 12 boys, on both teams, playing their first game of Senior Rugby.
The Belfast Royal Academy team scored tries through Peter Richardson, Scott Baxter, Oliver Smyth, Ben Dewhurst and Liam Davis. Henry George was successful with two conversions. The Ballyclare High School team relished in the fact that this game was ideal preparation for the season ahead following their summer fitness and skill development programme. Their points in the game came from an Austin Martin try.
Cambridge House Grammar School hosted Coleraine Grammar School in a game the Coleraine Grammar School team won by 32-3. The visitors had built up a 15-3 by the interval with unconverted tries from Mark Cusick, Toby McClarty and Benjy Logan. The Cambridge House Grammar School points came from a Tristan Ferguson penalty.
The Coleraine Grammar School team continued to hold the upper hand in the second half. They scored three more tries through Clark Logan, David Milford and Thomas Frew. A Matthew Curry conversion of the final try secured the 32-3 win for the Coleraine Grammar School team. Carrickfergus Grammar School and Larne Grammar School played a 3×20 session training game which involved one session of “bump, grab and hold” and two sessions of full contact. Both teams scored a lot of tries with the Larne Grammar School team eventually emerging as 33-27 winners.
Tom Kennedy impressed with his performance for the Carrickfergus Grammar School team with two tries while Sam Daniels and Ellis Branagh each scored one try. Ellis was also successful with one penalty and two conversion kicks. For the Larne Grammar School team Year 12 players, Adam Carson and Luke Farquhar, each scored a try on their 1stxv debuts with the experienced Tom Meban also scoring one try. Jack Wallace put in a Man of the Match performance by scoring two. Luke Farquhar was also successful with four out of five conversion kicks.
Limavady Grammar School played Belfast High School at 1stxv level from which, following a very committed encounter, the Limavady team, having built up a 12-0 first half lead, eventually emerged as 26-0 winners. The Limavady Grammar School team scored their points through tries from Odhran Clenaghan, Robert McFarland, Eunan McLaughlin and Ben Nutt. Benjamin Howe was successful with three of his conversion kicks.
Methodist College, Belfast entertained Enniskillen Royal Grammar School in their first full game of the season on the Pirrie Park Paddock Pitch. The Methody team controlled the game well and recorded an impressive 66-7 win. Jake Bowden scored a hat trick of tries with Ben McFarlane, Josh McAdam, Joe Dickson, Liam Black, Jonny O’Kane, David Armstrong and Chris Bradley touching down for one try each. Ben McFarlane was successful with five of his conversion kicks while Ryan Lindsay was successful with three conversion kicks.
The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School contributed a great deal to the game and their points came through an Alex Hetherington try which was converted by Tadhg Hambly.
Wallace High School played Ballymena Academy at both 1stxv and U16 levels. The Wallace High School team won the 1stxv game by 42-5 with the Ballymena Academy team winning the U16 game by 26-7. Regent House School played the Rainey Endowed School team in an evenly contested game that finished as a 5-5 draw. Towards the end of the first half, when the game had been played at a high intensity by both teams, the Regent House School team took a 5-0 lead through an unconverted try from Glen Smyth who took full advantage of a turn-over ball and ran in for his try from 60 metres.
The Rainey Endowed School team fought back in the course of an intense second half and got reward for their endeavours with a try from Jayden Shiels who took full advantage of a loose Regent House pass. This was a hard-fought encounter with both teams displaying great commitment in all aspects of their play throughout the game. Royal School, Dungannon and Friends’ School, Lisburn played out a game the Royal School, Dungannon team won by 57-7.
The RS Dungannaon team had built up a 26-7 lead by the break before going on to record their impressive victory. Alfie Lewis and Alex Kennedy both scored a brace of tries with Reuben Gibson, Adam Bradley, Jacob Clarke, Matthew Burrows and James Girvan scoring one try each. James capped a fine personal performance with six successful conversions. The Friends’ School, Lisburn team played with great commitment throughout the game and scored their points through an Alex Topping try and conversion.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution hosted Belvedere College, Dublin and, despite having built up an 8-3 lead by half time, lost the game by 20-8. Josh Eagleson, with a penalty, and Chris Beaumont, with an unconverted try, were the scorers in the first half for the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team.
The Belvedere College team kicked a first half penalty through Senan Hogan. In the second half Belvedere College scored another penalty through Senan as well as two second half tries through Paddy Dillon and Senan Hogan, both of which were converted by Senan, to secure their 20-8 victory.