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Wallace daring to dream

By Ronnie Ingram

Campbell College 10 Wallace High 12: Wallace High advanced to the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Schools' Cup with a narrow 12-10 victory over Campbell College at Fox's Field.

They now face the might of Methodist College at Ravenhill on Tuesday, March 4.

It was a tight game that could have gone either way with neither side imposing their dominance in the contest.

Campbell had most of the play at the start gaining lots of territory but the visiting defence was firm.

An early penalty was missed before Irish Schools' Jack Owens put them ahead with one.

There appeared to be a difference of opinion concerning the breakdown and Campbell gave away a few more penalties.

Winger Ryan Moore was successful with two to put his team ahead but Campbell always looked dangerous.

They pounced just at the right time, three minutes before the interval.

A lot of good constructive play meant ground was made and following a couple of plays, out-half Rory Butler linked with Owens who broke through.

He weaved through a few defenders to go in near the posts and add the conversion.

From the drop-out the home team was again penalised at the breakdown and Moore did the needful to bring them within a point.

Campbell had looked the more constructive outfit during this period and deserved their 10-9 lead.

They had the better field position and considering this Wallace were probably happy turning around just one point in arrears.

The encounter never really burst into action. Maybe it was a matter of nerves with so much at stake but there was little attractive and open rugby.

Neither managed to gain the upper hand after the restart with most of the contest taking place between the 22s.

Campbell, with their front row of Elliot Boyd, Connor McIlmurray and David Kealey making an impression, probably gained the better possession.

But if you don't win quick ball from the breakdown it is very difficult to score tries and both packs were a match for each other.

Campbell had slight territorial advantage but Wallace kept to their task and gave away few scoring opportunities.

Anytime Campbell looked dangerous the move was snuffed out with stout defending.

The Campbell mauls were very good but once again the Lisburn side managed to continually disrupt.

Also in the scrums the Belmont Road team appeared to have the edge but were unable to capitalise.

Just as the first half they conceded too many penalties and Moore only had to be successful

with one to put his team into the semis.

He and scrum-half Jonny Stewart controlled play when the opposition looked dangerous.

Campbell, under the coaching skills of Brian Robinson, Gareth Fry and John McKinney, were fully aware of what was required for victory and although they did have composure at times, they never showed the dominance that their teams have shown in the past.

They had the experience of Owens and Connor McIlmurray playing in their third Cup campaign and a number of others with Representative honours including Boyd, Aaron Haigh, Jack Glendinning, Philip Wood,and Kealey.

Their outstanding player was again Owens, who has also represented Ulster under-20's and he brought power and pace and leadership to the side and scored all 10 points.

Wallace, who have never won the Cup but have appeared in four finals, the last being in 2007 when they lost to RBAI 15-0, have had a number of scalps this year under the coaching of Derek Suffern, who has worked so hard at Ballynahinch bringing them many honours over the past number of seasons.

They will be a threat to Methody and could be an outside bet for the cup.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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