Dungannon Royal School looked to be heading for a place in the 4th round of the Schools Cup when they led Belfast High School 17-12 at the Armstrong Field on Saturday morning.
Alas, for the home side, High School broke from defence and managed an equalising try with the last move of the game. RSD now travel for a replay at Jordanstown.
Belfast High School applied early pressure but the RSD defence held firm as visiting centres, Adam White and Jordan Garford looked dangerous in possession. On one attack RSD winger, Archie Hanna foiled the move for Jack Milligan to drill the ball to touch.
Skipper, Jacob McCammon then poached a BHS throw and the momentum was maintained with John Buckley linking up with David Leyburn. An infringement saw BHS back on the offensive but just as the visitors prepared to mount an attack, Buckley latched on to an intercept and ran all of 70 metres to score at the posts. Milligan added the simple extras and RSD went 7 points clear on 13 minutes.
RSD were already looking good at scrum time and when the pack set up another attack the BHS out-half, Joel McBride was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. Milligan sliced the ensuing penalty but went one better when he hit the target on 22 minutes. So far, so good, but minutes later RSD lost influential skipper, Jacob McCammon through injury. As he left the field McBride returned from the ‘bin’ to help the frustration of the Belfast boys. RSD still held the upper hand though and Milligan was just wide with a penalty shot right on the half-time whistle, and the score remained 10-0.
BHS were keen to get back in the game and when RSD lost control of the ball at a ruck, the visitors moved close to the Dungannon line. Following a 5 metre scrum the deficit was reduced when White burst through to score a try converted by Robbie Reid.
However, RSD bounced back and when the pack drove forward Matthew Montgomery raced in for Milligan to convert and restore the 10 point advantage on 45 minutes. Back came BHS but some fine tackling thwarted their efforts.
In the end they did manage a score when winger, Matthew Connolly was sent clear midway through the half. At 17-12 the RSD comfort zone was gone and the scene was set for an interesting finish. BHS did go close on occasions but errors spoiled chances.
Indeed, in the final minutes RSD looked set to seal the issue when they pinned the visitors back inside the 22 before that dramatic break from defence that saw White crash over in the corner to complete his brace. The conversion was missed and the final whistle sounded leaving the final score at 17 all.
Royal School Dungannon: R McLean, A Hanna, M Montgomery, S McLean, S Moore, J Buckley, J Milligan, J Black, J McNeill, C Farrell, D Buckley, C Bain, D Leyburn, T Down, J McCammon (capt), T Brownlow, A Mills, Wright, N McCammon, J Patterson, J McKee, M Jones, M Calvert.
Belfast High School: J Hutchinson, M Connolly, J Garford, A White, K Bell, J McBride, J Creighton, S White, T McConkey(capt), C McDermott, L Benson, I Edwards, R Reid, C Elliott, S Shaw.
Referee: Peter Martin (Queens)