Last-gasp try earns High School victory

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BALLYCLARE High School First XV defeated RBAI 20-15 after a very close encounter.

Both teams welcomed back representatives from Ulster squads, but Ballyclare got off to the worst of starts as the Inst scrum half scored in the second minute, breaking on the blind side from a scrum.

Ballyclare gained territorial advantage and applied pressure, being rewarded with a kickable penalty from which outhalf Jonny Holmes hit the posts.

Midway through the first half Ballyclare managed to string a number of phases together, stretching RBAI to each touch line, resulting in full back James Beattie scoring in the corner for an unconverted try.

RBAI hit straight back and from a penalty they kicked to the corner and drove over from line-out.

In the closing minutes of the half Ballyclare again managed to put some continuity in to their play, which again resulted in a try in the corner, this time to wing Andrew Butler.

The second half was equally tight, with both sides having periods of domination. However, it was Ballyclare that scored the first points midway through, with Jonny Holmes kicking a penalty to make the score 13-12.

With 12 minutes remaining, the game had to be stopped for an injury to a RBAI player. The match transferred to the Second XV pitch and immediately RBAI took the lead back with a long-range penalty.

Ballyclare increased the tempo for the last few minutes and with the last play of the game prop Paddy Reid crashed over from close range to win the match.

Prop forward Jonny Craig, on his return from Ulster duty, was player of the day for his powerful scrummaging and carrying of the ball.

Ballyclare HS team: Jonny Craig, Marc Logan, Paddy Reid, Scott Barr, Matt Dailly, David Allen, Michael Kirk, Jonny Darling, Jack Irvine, Jonny Holmes, James Greer, Jonny Douglas (C), Eddie McKee, Andrew Butler, James Beattie.