Pre-match favourites Campbell College eventually pulled clear to win this closely contested Schools Cup final 18 – 11 thanks to second half tries from Chris Farrell and Rob Haldane.
The first half was a tense affair with both defences dominating. Inst went into an early lead thanks to the boot of their talented full back Matthew McGuigan who composed himself to land an early penalty attempt.
With the breeze behind them RBAI dominated territory and their pressure told with Campbell’s second row Geoffrey Crooks binned for over exuberant rucking. Roared on by their exuberant support Inst pushed hard to increase their lead but the Campbell defence worked hard to restrict them to a sweetly struck drop goal from McGuigan which took the score to 0 – 6
McGuigan fell short with a couple of penalty attempts the and Inst’s failure to capitalise on their territorial advantage was punished late in the second half when Campbell’s full back Rory Scholes landed a penalty to take the half time score to 3 – 6.
After a rousing half time team talk Campbell came out with all guns blazing, repelling an early Inst attack and then storming up field through winger Moss Rogers. Rogers was held up close to the line but the ball was quickly recycled and moved left for bustling centre Farrell to blast over close to the posts. Scholes converted and Campbell moved into teh lead 10 – 6.
Campbell looked to be getting on top and when Scholes slotted over a penalty to push the score to 13 – 6 it appeared as though the boys in black would pull clear.
Inst had other ideas and wingers Nathan Brown and John McClure both had chances in the corner. After a series of rucks close in the Inst pack forced their way over the line with number 8 Patrick Anderson touching down out right. McGuigan failed to level the scores but the match could swing either way with teh score reading 13 – 11.
Spurred on by captain John Creighton Campbell raised their game for a final assault and Creighton and Scholes combined to send winger Moss Rogers clear for the decisive score.
It was Campbell’s 23rd outright win in the second oldest rugby competition in the world.
Campbell College (3) 18
Tries: Farrell, Haldane Con: Scholes Pens: Scholes (2)
RBAI (6) 11
Tries: Anderson Pen: McGuigan Drop: McGuigan
RBAI: (15-9) Matthew McGuigan; Nathan Browne, Nathan Dougan, Kevin McLean, John McClure; Gareth Lawlor, Matthew Taylor (1-8) Neill Conor, Michael Mairs, Andrew Browne, Ben Alexander, Michael Kilpatrick, Patrick Bell (Captain), Zach Welshman, Patrick Anderson
Replacements: Daniel Clegg, Ross Keane, Thomas Dowling, James Martin, Andrew Roulston, Matthew Keane, Matthew Madill
Campbell: (15-9) Rory Scholes; Moss Rogers, Christopher Best, Chris Farrell, Rob Haldane; John Creighton (Captain), Glenn Bailie (1-8) Seb McBrien, Kyle Adams, Ross Taylor, Jack Crooke, Geoffrey Crooks, Mark Best, Jan-Francois Bester, Charles Gallagher
Replacements: Elliott Vollands, Calvin Jordan, Richard Greenwood, Shane Moffett, Thomas Bill, Clarke McGlade, Ben Sloan