Ballyclare High had to dig deep to overcome stiff resistance from Omagh Academy in their opening Group C Schools Cup match on Saturday morning.
The High school started strongly and within five minutes Jack Gamble powered over out wide to finish under the post for Mark Jackson to convert.
Omagh responded well but they were unable to make their possession and territory count and a mass break out by Ballyclare ended with Robert Reid hitting the line, after a few darts from the forwards, to move the score along to 12 – 0 in the High School’s favour.
The Academy kept plugging away and they got some reward for their efforts when their hard working No 8. Matthew Hunter emerged with the ball from the bottom of a pile up, on the stroke of half time, to take the score to 12 – 5.
The home side put some space between the teams in the third quarter with No 8 Gamble and full back Alex Darrah both crossing before Gamble bagged his hat trick with a super run from deep in his own half. Jackson converted two as the score rattled along to 31 – 5 to Ballyclare.
However there were two talented No 8’s on display and Hunter crossed for his second score as the game entered the final quarter, Jake Reid converting to take the score to 31 – 12.
The Omagh forwards were starting to make some headway against their opponents but it was slow work and when they opted to kick, to make some territory, it was generally returned with interest.
However, a concerted effort from Omagh ended with prop David Braden crashing over for an unconverted try with 6 minutes remaining.
Unfortunately, any thoughts of further inroads by the visitors were quickly quashed as Ballyclare moved the restart out left before quick hands gave winger Scott Wilson a stroll in out right for the final score of the game.
The game ended with Ballyclare recording a 36 – 17 win.
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