I went along to this Ulster Schools Bowl game at Wellington College on Saturday morning expecting a comfortable win for Dalriada. The visitors did come away with the win but, boy oh boy, Wellington made them work hard for it in an entertaining game.
Dalriada kicked off with the cold gusting breeze at their backs but it was Wellington who were first on the scoreboard when centre Aaron McNeill intercepted on the 7th minute to sprint for the posts. Tom Stanfield added the conversion and Wellington led 7 – 0.
The visitors were level three minutes later with the impressive James McCormick hitting the try line after a period in the Wellington 22. McCormick converted his own try to tie the game.
The teams battled it out in the middle of the park for the next twenty minutes with Wellington just about shading territory and possession with their impressive workrate and it was somewhat against the run of play when Dalriada’s action man McCormick blasted through for his second try, and conversion, just after the half hour mark.
Not to be outdone Wellington’s McNeill led the push for an equalising score and after a period of sustained pressure in the Dalriada 22 the home side found space out wide for McNeill to cross for his second. The conversion from out wide was short and the teams turned round with Wellington trailing 12 – 14.
Wellington went back in front early in the second half when Chris Campbell sneaked over in the corner for an unconverted try, moving the score to 17 – 14, but Dalriada hit back with two quick tries to take control of the game.
The first came from McCormick who burrowed over close to the posts, for his hat trick, before a clever chip from Will Scott saw him win the sprint to ground the ball in the in goal area. McCormick converted the first to move the score to 17 – 26 in Dalriada’s favour with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Wellington battled hard for the remainder of the game and were unlucky not to add to their total, the game ending without further score.