BGS 66-24 Belfast High School
by Simon Hull
Bangor Grammar School's encouraging start to the 2018/19 season continued with victory in a 13 try thriller at Gransha Road on Saturday.
Ahead of this match, a clashing Duke of Edinburgh expedition forced several changes to the Bangor line-up. Perhaps this inexperience was a contributing factor as Belfast High School's outside centre opened the scoring, from a perfectly executed switch pass just four minutes in. The subsequent conversion attempt by their out-half was equally successful.
Bangor responded well and drew level with a try from Conor Lusty. With Rhys Larmour away, Harry McCracken was on tee duty and his conversion added two points to the Bangor score.
Through the first ten minutes, Belfast High did well to contain the threat of the potent Bangor Grammar back line and opened a three-point lead with a penalty 22 yards out. This lead proved to be short lived as Bangor doubled their score: Sam Murray escaping the clutches of two Belfast High tacklers. McCracken was on target again with the conversion.
12 months ago in Newtownabbey, Rhys Larmour scored a stunning interception try from the halfway line. This time, it was Belfast High's inside centre in almost identical fashion, capitalising on a loose BGS pass and racing over the line.
Through most of the first half, this match was very much in the balance and the lead continued to switch hands like a hot potato; the score now 17-14 to Belfast High School.
As the clock ticked on, Belfast High didn't seem to have an answer for Bangor's direct passing; Harry McCracken and Harry Angus added further scores, to give BGS a 26-17 lead at half time.
After the break, Bangor Grammar wasted no time getting back up to speed. Set-up by Riley Westwood, Will Simpson was the next Bangor man to touch down.
All of Bangor's tries seemed to follow the same pattern: phases of passing would scatter Belfast High's defence, until a suitable gap opened for a BGS shirt to run through at close range.
Another four tries were added by Harry McCracken, Harry Angus and Conor Lusty, with the Jordanstown team responding courtesy of their number 8.
Bangor's advantage allowed coaches to introduce a full quota of replacements. These included Kristen McNeice of Year 12 who recorded a brilliant solo break from his own 22 in the last play of the match. Harry McCracken's conversion brought his final kick tally to an impressive 8/10.
This was a fine end for Bangor Grammar against a Belfast High team who have recorded some promising results so far this season.
The Bangor Grammar 1st XV will now look ahead to an exciting North Down derby match against Sullivan Upper School next Saturday.
Final Score: Bangor Grammar School 66-24 Belfast High School.
Team: 1. Skelly, 2. Moore, 3. Cavan, 4. Bull, 5. Pyper, 6. Dobie, 7. Murray, 8. Westwood, 9. McKenzie, 10. Blaney, 11. Angus, 12. Lusty, 13. Stewart, 14. Simpson, 15. McCracken.
Substitutes: 16. Mahood, 17. McNeice, 18. Bain, 19. Winters, 20. Norman, 21. Christie, 22. Ritchie, 23. McCreary
BGS Tries: Conor Lusty (x3), Sam Murray, Harry McCracken (x2), Harry Angus (x2), Will Simpson, Kristen McNeice
BGS Conv: Harry McCracken (x8)
BHS Tries: (x3)
BHS Conv: (x3)
BHS Pen: (x1)