Sullivan Upper School 33-10 BGS
by Simon Hull
It was beautiful weather in Holywood on Saturday morning, as Sullivan Upper School and Bangor Grammar School locked horns in battle, with North Down bragging rights at stake.
Sullivan are unbeaten from their first three matches, and it was they who started brightest. Only a minute into the match, a scrum roughly 30 metres out gave the hosts a perfect opportunity to launch their first attack. With quick hands and fast legs, full back Shay Storey broke free for the first try.
Sullivan's scrum half Conor McKee has just completed commitments with the Ulster U18 schools team, and his conversion in front of the posts added to their lead.
After seven minutes, George Saunderson, was sent XLLSto the bin for diving over Bangor's Gareth Wells in a mistimed tackle. Earlier in the year both of these players were teammates in the Ulster U18 schools side.
Bangor Grammar enjoyed more possession with the extra man, but weren't able to press beyond the Sullivan 22 as the hosts' solid defence held firm.
With Saunderson back on the pitch, Sullivan looked a much greater threat. A bouncing kick into the corner was expertly chased into the goal zone by Storey, where two hands on the ball secured his second try. McKee's conversion brought the score to 14-0.
A minute or so later, McKee was again back at the tee for a penalty. This time his kick was slightly wide of the mark.
Thomas Leitch was the next to score for Sullivan. In arguably the most impressive play of the match, the Sullivan winger turned at speed past three Bangor shirts, and raced to the posts for Sullivan's third converted try in a dominant first half.
During the early stages of the second half, an improved Bangor Grammar pushed Sullivan all the way back to their own try line. Following a nice series of pick and gos, Gareth Wells reached over for his second try of the season. Rhys Larmour's conversion attempt struck the post.
Sensing that Bangor were growing into the match, Sullivan upped the ante again, but were tries were denied twice by Bangor holding the ball up on the line. That said, Bangor's defence could only hold firm for so long, and Harry Baird crashed over for Sullivan's fourth, this time unconverted.
Bangor tried to fight back, but scrum-half Angus Christie's efforts to quickly restart play were continually stopped by the referee; thus momentum would be lost.
A line break from Scott Skelly soon opened up another nice attack for Bangor. The conclusion of this move saw Christie touch down, but the referee had already blown to penalise Sullivan. Five minutes later Christie repeated his earlier feat and play was again brought back by the referee. In doing so, Christie incurred a blow to the head and the Bangor number 9 was ordered off by the referee for suspected concussion.
In the middle of this prolonged Bangor attack, Sullivan's number 8 Oliver Faith was yellow carded for not rolling away during a tackle.
Bangor were eventually rewarded again for their efforts, with Conor Lusty reaching between two Sullivan bodies for his eighth try in five matches.
With a couple of minutes left on the clock, Sullivan added to their tally. This time, Jamie Thallon was the scorer from a driving maul. McKee converted to bring the final score to 33-10.
Final Score: Sullivan Upper School 33-10 Bangor Grammar School
Teamsheet: 1. McCrossan, 2. Moore, 3. Skelly, 4. Bull, 5. Dobie, 6. Westwood, 7. Murray, 8. Wells, 9. Christie, 10. Larmour, 11. Angus, 12. Lusty, 13. Stewart, 14. McCreary, 15. McCracken.
Substitutes: 16. Grant, 20. Pritchard, 21. Hamilton
SUS Tries: Shay Storey (x2), Thomas Leitch, Harry Baird, Jamie Thallon
SUS Conv: Conor McKee (x4)
BGS Tries: Gareth Wells, Conor Lusty