Down High School Under 13A team proved that their victory over Campbell College last week was no fluke when they claimed the scalp of another of Ulster School’s top teams. Belfast Royal Academy arrived at the Swamp on Saturday and from the start they knew they were in for a tough match as the Down boys tackled aggressively and carried the ball strongly. The Belfast side struggled to break the gain line during the first half whereas the home team time after time made ground particularly through the intelligent kicking of fly half Greg Hutley. It was as a result of one of these kicks that Down opened the scoring as they spoiled a BRA line out and made their way towards the try line. The eagle eyed Jacob Leaker spotted a gap in the away defence and picked the ball up from at the base of the ruck and powered over the line. Hutley added the extras. The remainder of the half was played out in the middle third of the pitch and Down went in to the interval leading 7-0.
The Mount Crescent boys started the second half on the front foot and Hutley continued to cause problems with his kicking in behind the defence but credit to the BRA full back and wingers who were able to deal with these tactics. Eventually though, it paid off when winger Christy Lindsay gathered a crossfield kick. The BRA defender managed to tackle him ten yards short of the line but the ever alert Jonathan Mason was on hand to receive a pop pass and go over for an unconverted try. This eventually spurred the away team into action and they responded immediately. Winning a penalty about five yards out, the home defence was caught napping as the BRA flanker took a quick tap and went over in the corner. The try was not converted. However the Down boys were able to play out the remainder of the game in the BRA half and the backline produced a number of excellent moves which unfortunately didn’t result in any further scores and the home team secured a fine 12-5 victory.
For the second week running Down High U13A team fronted up against strong opposition and showed tremendous application in both attack and particularly defence. On very few occasions did the BRA players manage to break the gain line and that was due to superb defensive organisation of the team.
It was a double celebration for the Under 13 squad as the B team beat their BRA counterparts 5-0 with Ross McAllen scoring the winning try.