Medallion Bowl 2017-18

Belfast High at Home.

Having lost to Sullivan in a 3rd round replay in the Medallion Shield and subsequent relegation from the top tier of the competition, we found ourselves with a home draw against Belfast High School in the Medallion Bowl.  While morale was consequently not of its usual height; a long talk with our coaches and a deep look inside helped us to regain our mojo and set our sights on becoming victors of the competition in which we now resided.

A hard week of training and possibly the best team run our team had ever had left us in the perfect position to perform on the Saturday of that week.

The game got underway at 10:00am on Saturday 27th January and following a great passage of play we scored very early in the corner. Sadly, this was not converted. A thrilling first half saw us expand our lead to a respectable 15-0.

We approached the second half with the same hunger and ferocity as the first and soon our hard work was rewarded with another score. We managed to squeeze in a further three scores before the game reached its conclusion. With pride in our defence, an equally impressive achievement was keeping the opposition out for 60 minutes and stopping them from scoring any points.

The game finished with a 37-0 win to ourselves; thus, we progressed to the semi-final of the Bowl. We were drawn to play away to Omagh Academy.

Omagh Academy away.

On a cold and icy afternoon, the Medallion XV travelled west to play Omagh Academy in the semi-finals of the Medallion Bowl.

After a long bus journey to reach the venue, the team led by Luke Norman seemed to still think they were on the bus with a lackadaisical warm up.

This then resulted in a poor start to the game where Bangor let their opposition have time and space allowing their strong ball carriers to get across the gain line with relative ease. After a period of sustained pressure, the Omagh team barged their way over the white wash for the first score of the game. More pressure was to follow with the boys putting in some super hits on their own line managing to earn a penalty and get out of jail.

Bangor then launched their own sustained period of attack, eventually Rory Wood charging down an attempted clearance resulting in a scrum to Bangor. From the scrum the boys executed a set play well, resulting in Robbie Grant barrelling his way through the defence for a score and suddenly Bangor had their tails up and were back in the game. The try went unconverted, however this would not deter a resurgent Bangor Grammar team, as straight from the kick off a stellar break by Ewan Kennedy resulted in Matthew Drysdale finding himself in the unfamiliar situation of scoring a try! This try was converted by Jordan Brown and BGS took a 12-7 lead into half time.

The second half was more of a slow burner, with Omagh having a lot of the pressure early on and creating some scoring chances to no avail. Bangor lacked discipline with Ewan Kennedy being yellow carded following a series of repeated team infringements. Bangor were now down to 14 men. Omagh piled on the pressure with a bulldozing run from a big strong forward, however with a turnover in the last play of the match, Bangor kicked the ball into touch and the boys celebrated.

The boys would face Limavady Grammar in the final at Roughfort Playing Fields.

Danske Bank Medallion Bowl Final 2017-18

Bangor Grammar School vs Limavady Grammar School

The Final was held on the 24th February 2018, kick off at 10:30 am at Roughfort Playing Fields.

On the morning of the match, weather conditions were good with very little wind and the pitch was in excellent condition. The match began with both teams eager to get off to a fast start and get first points on the board. Bangor Grammar got off to a great start with a try from No.6 Robbie Grant in the first few minutes of play. The score went unconverted, Bangor 5-0 Limavady. Bangor took a clean catch from kick off and proceeded to attack the Limavady defence. Plenty of ground was made as Bangor piled on the pressure and kept the momentum going forward, resulting in a good team try. The ball went through the hands, with No.11 Ben McLean scoring in the corner. The conversion was missed, Bangor 10-0 Limavady.

BGS continued to press the Limavady defence and kept the ball moving quickly, from touchline to touchline. Following some excellent phase build up play, No.13 Josh Carol burst through the centre of Limavady’s defence to score. Again the conversion was unsuccessful.

Limavady put Bangor under pressure from restart and forced a BGS knock on, resulting in a scrum and possession for Limavady in an attacking area, giving the opposition their first real attacking opportunity of the game.

Limavady began to make their way back into the game. Just before the half time break, they broke down the Bangor defence, scoring a converted try under the posts, making it Bangor 15-7 Limavady at the break.

The 2nd half began with Bangor kicking off. BGS got off to another fast start this time by putting excellent defensive pressure on the Limavady attack, forcing them to knock it on and presenting Bangor with possession of the football.

It only took a few phases for Bangor’s No.7 Rory wood to break through and score a wonderful individual try. The conversion was again unsuccessful, Bangor 20-7 Limavady. Bangor made a clean catch and kept the momentum going forward from the restart. This lead to some fantastic phases as Bangor proceeded to attack but Limavady did a good job and kept them out. A quick pass from No.9 Mark Carberry to No.3 Jack Nesbitt saw him break through a weak tackle and barge his way over the line. Try Bangor, this time converted by Mark Carberry. Bangor 27-7 Limavady. Bangor were slow to react from kick off leading to a strong attacking position for Limavady to score a converted try under the posts. Bangor 27-14 Limavady.

Bangor dug deep and once again put pressure on the Limavady defence, going through multiple phases and keeping the ball. This series of plays ended with No.6 Robbie Grant breaking the Limavady defence and scoring, converted by Mark Carberry. Bangor 34-14 Limavady. Bangor looked completely in control of the game, finishing strongly as Jack Nesbitt again fought his way over the try line for another unconverted score. Full time Bangor 39-14 Limavady. Both teams fought hard but on the day Bangor Grammar played some excellent rugby, taking their changes and deservedly taking the spoils.

A representative of the Schools’ Committee of the Ulster Branch and Bangor Grammar School first of all thanked Danske Bank for their continued support of Schools’ rugby in Ulster. He also thanked B.R.A. for the use of their excellent pitch, the referee and assistants, coaches and staff from both teams and all the supporters. Mr Robison praised both teams for making it such a great match. He then went on to present medals to the Limavady and Bangor players before the presentation of the trophy to the Bangor grammar captain No.8 Luke Norman.

Finn Ritchie, Jack Nesbitt & Chris Pyper