THE Friends’ School 1st XV travelled to play Antrim Grammar School in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2nd Round game more in hope than expectation because of their injury list involving a number of experienced players, including captain, Ross Robinson.
However, following a great second half display, the Lisburn team returned home as 12-8 winners of a very entertaining game.
The Antrim Grammar School team dominated proceedings for most of the first half. They were dominant at scrum time with captain, Adam Watt, getting good support from his colleagues in the front row. Adam was accurate with his lineout throws and with Mark Strange causing all sorts of problems at the breakdown area it was the Antrim Grammar School team that enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half.
The Antrim team took a 3-0 lead midway through the first half when Mark Strange was successful with a penalty opportunity.
The Friends’ team defence was well-organised with Dean Howes, Zac Finlay, Jack Ravey and Peter Ferguson all getting through a lot of work. That was until the last play of the first half when the Antrim team attacked the Friends’ team down the right hand side of the pitch. Good hands from the home side put full back, James Magowan, into space and he finished off with a try in the corner. The conversion was missed but the Antrim Grammar School team had an 8-0 lead at the interval.
The Friends’ School team came out in the second half displaying a greater intensity than they had in the first half. They took the game to Antrim and began to look a little more threatening. The Antrim defence was good but could do little to stop Cameron McClements outpacing them to touch down for a fine try under the posts. Peter Ferguson converted the try to reduce the arrears to 8-7. Antrim had the opportunity to increase their lead on a number of occasions but missed penalties, allied to good Friends’ School defence, saved the day on a number of occasions. The game was swinging from end to end but the Friends’ team took a 12-8 lead, with just seven minutes to go, when Peter Ferguson scored after consistent pressure in the corner for an unconverted try. The Antrim Grammar School team took play deep into Friends’ School territory during the final few minutes. They attacked at every opportunity but could find no way through a resolute Friends’ School defence. The whistle went and it was the Friends’ School team that celebrated their hard earned 12-8 win.
The squad are now preparing for their 3rd Round encounter with Limavady Grammar School to be played on Saturday 26th January at Friends’ School at 11:15a.m. All support is welcome!