With our other schools games either cancelled or their venue switched we had to make do with this rehearsal for the Schools Cup Final as Wallace High entertained Ballymena Academy at Clonevin Park.
Wallace enjoyed the early territory and possession with Ben Carson crashing over for the opening score 14 minutes in. Nathan Doak adding the extras.
However, Ballymena hit back with some gusto scoring three tries on the bounce to take a 7 – 19 lead.
A delightful chip by Ross McKay saw Richard Mallon open the Academy’s account with a try out wide, before Adam Lamont battled over for their second on the half hour mark. McKay converted the second and the multi talented out half was stepping up minutes later to convert his own try after outstripping the defence with an interception.
A somewhat chastened Wallace hit back in the closing minutes of the extended first half as the impressive Reuben Crothers crashed over under the posts for Doak to convert before Jamie McNeight crossed in the corner with the last play of the half to tie the game at 19 – all as the teams changed ends.
The excitement was dialled down a notch in a tense second half with Wallace starting to come out on top in most areas of the game. An extended period of pressure in the Ballymena 22 ended with Scot Wilson finding the line from close range for an unconverted try.
The game took a decisive swing in the home sides favour when Finn Rankin sneaked in out wide to give Wallace a 29 -19 lead with less than ten minutes to go.
Ballymena upped their game for the final period and spent the remainder of the game camped in the Wallace 22. However, some excellent defence from Crothers and Carson, and an extraordinary steal over the line, kept Ballymena scoreless in the second half.
Final score: Wallace High 29 Ballymena Academy 19
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