Ballymena Academy hosted Belfast Royal Academy and had to work hard before recording their 17-12 win at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 4th Round game.
The Ballymena Academy team started the game with the wind in their backs and good game management by their half back pairing of James Wright and Ross McKay kept them on the front foot. Their attacks forced the Belfast Royal Academy into conceding penalties and Ross McKay was successful with kicks in the fifteenth, twentieth and thirtieth minutes to see the Ballymena Academy team into a 9-0 lead. Just before the break it might have been more when the outstanding Ballymena Academy full back, Matthew Corr, cut through the Belfast Royal Academy defensive line. However, a great tackle from his opposite number, Brendan Hasson, denied Matthew the opportunity of scoring and the teams turned around with the Ballymena Academy team 9-0 ahead at the break.
The Ballymena Academy team started the second half well with big carries from Harry Andrews and Adam Lamont taking them deep into opposition territory. Ross McKay added another penalty to see the Ballymena Academy team into a 12-0 lead. Then, following a well organised driven maul, the ball was recycled and released to Alex McKinney. Alex then powered over the Belfast Royal Academy line before touching down for an unconverted try which increased the Ballymena Academy lead to 17-0.
The Belfast Royal Academy team then came into the game when they started to display more attacking options. Daniel Logan scored an unconverted try to reduce the arrears for the Belfast Royal Academy team to 17-5. This seemed to inspire the BRA team and they got some reward for their endeavours when Ollie Parkes ran in for a try, which was converted by Harry Warke late in the game, to reduce the deficit to 17-12.
However, time was running out and it was the Ballymena Academy that went through to the draw for the 1/4 Finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.
Match report thanks to Barney McGonigle