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Strangford College, Newtownards

Ulster Rugby Year 8 Rugby Blitz

30th Oct 2018

On Wednesday a group of 29 Year 8 boys set out to play their first competitive games of Rugby in a Strangford College kit. The destination was Newtownards Rugby Club for the Ulster Rugby Year 8 Rugby blitz. A number of schools from the Peninsula and North Down area were there to compete in a 10 a side tournament. The format allows the boys to play in short fast paced games with no conversions and one point awarded per try.

The day started off with the boys receiving some expert coaching tips giving them the opportunity to brush up on their tackling and handing skills. Many of the boys have been attending after school rugby on Monday afternoons and were keen to build on what they had learnt so far.

The first game against Bangor Academy 2s kicked off with Strangford College quickly gaining control of the ball and taking the game to Bangor. The more experienced members of the Strangford side proved unstoppable with ball in hand, scoring four times in the first half. Despite giving away a number of penalties, Strangford College were solid in defence and turned over a ruck and won the ball back on one occasion. In the second half the game opened up and the Strangford College boys crossed the try line twice demonstrating some impressive speed and side stepping to evade the opposition’s tackles.

The next game saw a tougher challenge with Strangford College lining up against Bangor Academy 1s. Strangford kicked off with Bangor gaining possession and holding on to the ball. The Stangford defence was well organised with the boys maintaining a solid line across the pitch matching the Bangor man for man. Eventually Bangor broke through scoring two tries in quick succession. However, some dogged performances saw Strangford College fight back. Eventually the boys cut through the Bangor line to put the ball down in the corner. A short period of sustained pressure from Strangford College  produced another try to level the score. Despite a strong defensive performance towards the end of the game, Bangor broke through to win in the dying seconds of the game. Despite the result this was a solid performance against a strong and well organised Bangor side.

The final game saw Strangford College play against a less experienced, but very competitive St Columbanus side. Strangford quickly took control of the game, winning a number of balls in the lineout and holding onto the ball in the breakdown. St Columbanus fought back, but the defence worked hard to ensure that Strangford did not concede one try. This was despite the St Columbanus team having some extremely fast runners who nearly broke through on more than one occasion. Some good handling skills and good running meant that Strangford College ended up winning 7 – 0 in the end.

The boys did not hesitate to shake hands with their opponents after each of the games and thank the referees. Their behaviour and sportsmanship was impeccable both on and off the pitch.