Schools’ Cup heartbreak for BGS

REGENT House caused a Schools’ Cup upset on Saturday morning with a three point victory over local rivals Bangor Grammar. The nail-biting derby clash attracted a crowd of over 600 rugby fanatics to the Newtownards school, including a large contingent from BGS. The Grammar – who defeated Regent in both the 2019 and 2020 editions of the prestigious competition – were considered pre-match favourites, but Regent dug-in to set up a last 16 clash with Dromore High. Regent House head of rugby Nick Gamble said: “It’s been a few years since we’ve defeated Bangor Grammar, so it was a special occasion. “They defeated us quiet easily in October, so there was no doubt we were underdogs before kick-off. But our boys have worked incredibly hard since then to improve. “It was a fantastic performance from start to finish. I think we controlled most of the game, but nerves played a part in the second half. BGS deserve a lot of credit as they didn’t make it easy for us, but our boys dug deep, and I think they deserved the victory. “Our forwards put up a good fight, winning most of the scrums and line-outs. We stopped their back-line from gaining any momentum, and that was probably the key to victory.” On the day, the Regent House pack dominated from set-pieces, and this proved to be the difference between the two teams. In the opening stages of the game, clever kicking by Zach Campbell put the Grammar under pressure. Regent opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Noah Greenhauld crossed the line. Greenhauld’s try was expertly converted by the impressive Campbell. Grammar’s Ben Gibson also caught the eye. He levelled the scores in the 20th minute with a fine try, that he also converted. Regent captain Adam Finlay restored Regent’s lead just before the break, although on this occasion Campbell missed the conversion. This gave the Newtownards school a 12-7 lead. Campbell made amends at the start of the second half when he kicked a penalty, that extended Regent’s led to eight points. The Grammar refused to surrender. In the 62nd minute, Ben McLean touched down an unconverted try to reduce the arrears to a mere three points. In the final few minutes of the tie Regent’s red wall, led by the backrow of Adam Finlay, Michael Lyttle and Curtis Ewing, helped the Ards school claim victory. It was an immense display from Regent House, although Bangor Grammar can take pride in their battling display. A panel from Ards Rugby Club named Noah Greenhauld as man of the match, while Regent captain Adam Finlay lifted the inaugural Towers Cup. The new trophy embraces the importance of respect and sportsmanship between the two schools. The name recognises the two towns’ famous landmarks. Regent House will defend the trophy the next time the schools clash in a first XV fixture. But for now, Regent’s focus is on Saturday January 29’s trip to Dromore. Also in the fourth round, Holywood school Sullivan Upper will travel to Foyle College. On the same day, BGS will travel to Belfast Royal Academy in the quarter-finals of Schools’ Bowl.