Grosvenor's pack excel in Larne win
Grosvenor Grammar School's reward for a hard-fought victory away at Larne Grammar School is a home tie against Belfast High School in the third round of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools' Cup writes Gavin Mairs.
Ian Graham's side defied the odds and the conditions to secure a deserved 16-10 victory over a Larne Grammar outfit that could not repeat their victory over the east Belfast school earlier in the season.
It took a tremendous effort by the visitors' pack, however, to help overcome a 10-6 deficit and grind out a superb victory in what was the tie of the second round.
Two penalties by Scott Martin had given Grosvenor an early lead, but then the home side struck with a try by Gary Mills from a rolling maul, with Lee Miller converting. The full-back then added a penalty to extend the home side's lead to 10-6.
But Grosvenor regained the lead with a try by lock John Lutton from a poor clearance kick and Martin added the conversion via the crossbar.
Larne, however, looked in a decent position to push on for victory with the advantage of the conditions and the slope in the second half.
But with Grosvenor's lineout functioning superbly and their pack able to front up against a powerful forward unit, the visitors were able to close Larne out, completing the victory with a third penalty in injury time by Martin after he had missed an earlier attempt.
"It is great to get a home draw against Belfast High School," said Graham. "We have beaten some sides who are already through and were due to play Belfast High School last week, but with the snow we were forced to call it off. They are a competitive, tough side, but it is nice to be a home. "
Meanwhile, Down High School were also rewarded with home advantage for their third round clash against either Limavady Grammar or Lurgan College, who will meet each other next Saturday after their game was postponed because of frost.
Down recorded a superb 15-3 victory over former cup giants Bangor Grammar School.
Tries by Peter Wilson and centre William Edgar, and a penalty and conversion by Matthew Norton broke a spirited Bangor side in an exciting contest.
"We are delighted to get a home draw," said coach Ivor Monaghan. " Limavady Grammar are an unknown quantity to us and will we not underestimate either of them."
Third round draw (to be played on January 26): Royal School Dungannon v Rainey Endowed, Grosvenor Grammar v Belfast High School, Omagh Academy v Portora Royal School, Foyle & Londonderry College v Coleraine Inst, Banbridge Academy v Portadown College, Cambridge House or Friends v Ballyclare High School, Regent House v Carrick Grammar or Dalriada, Down High School v Limavady Grammar or Lurgan College.