On Saturday, Down High School U14s travelled to Grosvenor Grammar School knowing they would be in for a tough, physical test. The conditions were very wet and slippery, but that did not stop the two teams from giving their all.
The first whistle blew with an excellent kick from Down. Grosvenor’s flanker took the catch well and went straight into contact setting up the first phase. They won the ruck and managed to put the ball through the hands of the back line out to the winger who made a strong and fast run until Down’s Jack Carlise made the hit to take him down. Play continued with Grosvenor’s forwards running hard and making yards putting the Down defence to the test. The ball was moved to Grosvenor’s 8 who broke the line, but luckily Down’s inside-center Ronan Patterson read his foot steps and just about grabbed his jersey to bring him down. However, Grosvenor’s forwards still came strong to eventually carry the ball over the line for the first points of the game. The kick was not converted.
At the restart, Down received the ball well and went straight up into the Grosvenor half. A penalty was awarded creating further opportunities for Down as they kicked for touch. Down continued to dominate as they won the line-out, but Grosvenor were showing immense pride to prevent a score from the opposition. However, a well placed kick and chase and dive from Ronan Patterson caused the ball to trundle over the line for a try to make the score 5-5. A perfect kick from Down’s scrum half, Dan Browne, took them to a 7-5 lead.
Shortly after the restart, Down were back in Grosvenor’s 5 metre-line demonstrating good organisation and composure. A persistent and patient attack led to Down’s number 8, Luke Thompson, using his strength to dive into the corner making the score 12-5 to end the half. Unfortunately, the kick didn’t split the posts this time.
The start of the second half was dominated by a vigorous and determined Grosvenor. Their strong attack led to an early score with a successful conversion bringing the scores level at 12-12. The match was tight with both sides showing great desire to score. But it was Grosvenor who took the opportunity to move the ball wide from a scrum at the half way mark to out run Down and score under the posts. The try was not converted bringing the score to 17-12.
Down were running out of time to respond. The more physical Grosvenor were causing them problems with a minor injury for out-side centre Rhys Patterson who had to be taken off. Down encroached into the Grosvenor half with a good run from Nicholas Cleave, but he was tackled and a ruck was formed. Down’s Ronan Patterson thought fast and picked the ball up and burst down the blind side to out run the chasing Grosvenor team over the line to bring the scores level again. Browne was under pressure with a difficult kick but found his range and direction and stuck it through the posts to once again take Down into the lead. A final few phases of play saw both teams battle to the end before a beautifully placed kick from Browne and fortunate bounce of the ball led to Grosvenor hands taking the ball into touch to end the game.
Final score Down High School 19, Grosvenor Grammar School 17 making it 3 wins out of 3 for Down so far this season.