Schools' Cup: Campbell in semis after gutsy display
Campbell College 8 Methody 3: It took 210 minutes but Campbell College qualified for the Northern Bank Schools' Cup semi-final clash against Ballyclare High at Ravenhill next Monday.
This was the second replay between two equally matched teams and although it was not an overly exciting encounter at Shaw’s Bridge, both teams deserve credit for defending stoutly.
Campbell just about warranted their win but Methody did have their chances and remarkably did not attempt two first half kickable penalties when they were trailing.
If successful with both they would have taken a 9-8 lead which may well have been the final score. As it was they elected to kick for the corner but the superb Campbell defence held.
Campbell started strongly and after Jan-Francois Bester made ground the ball was swung wide from the ensuing ruck for Rob Haldane to go over in the corner.
Methody immediately took play down to Campbell’s territory and Adam Berry's penalty from just outside the ‘22' just about sailed between the posts.
Campbell increased their advantage after 23 minutes with a straightforward Rory Scholes penalty from in front of the posts but further out than those that Methody failed to attempt.
The remainder of the half belonged to Methody who were within two metres of the Campbell line on a few occasions. In fact the referee was unhappy with the manner that the Campbell scrum-half was putting the ball in so they also had a couple of ‘free kicks' 10 metres out but the Malone Road team were still unable to take advantage.
The first half 8-3 lead probably flattered Campbell as Methody had the territorial advantage and created the more constructive chances but the second half was the reverse.
It was the turn of Campbell to take up a position inside the Methody ‘22' and they were there for long periods.
Methody did break out on a number of occasions but they continually made basic handling errors. Campbell full-back Scholes played an intelligent game kicking accurately out of defence and thus taking the pressure of his forwards.
Scholes tried a long penalty which used up vital time towards the close but his team still managed to control most of the play.
Methody props Ross Kane and James Harrison used their power and in the last move Methody took play right back inside the Campbell ‘22'.
When it looked as though they were going to score that vital try another handling mistake robbed them of levelling.