Strabane Academy entertained Wellington College on a wet and windy Saturday morning in the first round of the Ulster Schools Cup.
Strabane kicked off with the elements at their back and they took advantage of the strong wind to open the scoring through Reuben Orr who crossed close to the posts after a period of pressure in the visitors 22. Harry McCrossan added the conversion.
Wellington responded strongly and, enjoying their best period of the game, they took a 7 – 10 lead through unconverted tries from Chris Campbell and Marcus Smyth.
The home team kicked it up a notch and used the elements, and a solid defensive line, to get back in front before the break with Nickey Sayers and Gavin Doherty both crossing for tries, converted by McCrossan, to take a 21 – 10 lead as the teams changed ends.
The second half belonged to Wellington in terms of territory and possession but they made hard work of it with limited use of the elements, instead opting to try and punch through the centre of a solid Strabane defence.
The visitors had more joy when they got the ball wide and Doherty continued to cause problems. A late break by the full back ended with a scrum close in and No. 8 Adam Savage bundled over for a try, converted by Smyth, to pull the score back to 21 – 17 with just under ten minutes remaining.
However, the Academy’s defence held firm for the remainder of the game to give Strabane a 21 – 10 win and a trip to Belfast High School in the second round.