(Wednesday 9th March)
Portora Royal School 20, Grosvenor Grammar School 7
The Portora RS team outscored their Grosvenor rivals by three tries to one at the end of this entertaining game. Second row, Ryan Egerton, fullback, Robert Baloucoune, and flanker, Jack Rutledge, scored Portora’s tries in a dominant display at Royal School Dungannon. A period of sustained pressure early in the first half was rewarded when Ryan Egerton powered over after a series of close drives by the forwards. Outside centre, Connor Keys, kicked the conversion to put his Portora team into a 7-0 lead. Robert Baloucoune, who has represented Ulster U19s, was dangerous all afternoon with his open field running and sliced through the Grosvenor defence to earn his side’s second try. Connor Keys was unable to convert but the Co. Fermanagh school brought a 12-0 lead into the interval.
Portora, playing with a strong breeze in their favour after the break, continued to dominate proceedings and Connor Keys knocked over a penalty to increase the Portora RS lead to 15-0. Then Jack Rutledge crossed the whitewash midway through the second half after some fine interplay between his fellow forwards and the talented backline. Connor Keys’ resultant kick was off target but his team now held a comfortable 20 point advantage. There was still time for Grosvenor, who fought hard throughout the game, to score a try of their own. Mark Courtney’s lovely delayed pass put Daniel Martin through a sizeable gap in the defence and the captain dotted down under the posts. Scrumhalf, Adam Skelton, added the extras to reduce the deficit to 20-7. The Belfast boys pushed tirelessly for another score late in the game, with left wing Ben Stevenson, particularly prominent in attack but the Portora defence was resolute. Richard Latimer’s final whistle was greeted with jubilant scenes as the Portora Royal School captain, Josh Kennedy, and his team celebrated a memorable win.
At the post match presentation ceremony Graffin Parke, Junior Vice President of Ulster Rugby, paid thanks to those in attendance and presented both teams with their medals and presented the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl to Josh Kennedy, captain of the victorious Portora Royal School team.