On Friday afternoon Royal Belfast Academical Institution 3rd XV and Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4th XV contested the final of the Schools 3rd XV Cup. With the noise generated by a very partisan crowd, one could have been mistaken for thinking that 2 schools were involved. The near proximity of the students in class made for a feisty confrontation.
The 4th seemed in awe of the 3rds, early on and stood back from them. This allowed the 3rds to dominate and after 6 minutes Jack Gardiner got over, under the posts for the opening try. Ben Gray converted to give the 3rds a 7-0 lead.
The 4ths had some promising moves, establishing territory. On 14 minutes Paddy Woods fought his way over, beside the posts. James Beattie converted to tie the scores 7-7.
Both teams had scoring opportunities but neither side could take their chances. The only other score of the 1sthalf was a successful penalty goal By Gray.
The 3rds lead 10-7 at halftime.
On 55 minutes a Ewan Patterson try regained the lead 12-10 for the 4ths.
Eight minutes later Gardiner squeezed in at the left corner to retake the lead for the 3rds 15-12.
Immediately the 4ths countered and set up field position from where Fraser Cunningham ran round and dotted down behind the posts. Beattie converted for the 4ths to retake the lead 19-15.
Despite a lot of effort, from both teams, there was to further scoring and the 4ths took the cup in a well deserved victory, if not entirely within the script, at least as far as the 3rds were concerned!