Academy beaten in first game of new year

Ballymena Academy's Angus Kernohan attempts to escape the clutches of a Wallace High School opponent on Saturday.
Ballymena Academy's Angus Kernohan attempts to escape the clutches of a Wallace High School opponent on Saturday.

Ballymena Academy travelled to Wallace High School for their first fixture of 2016 on Saturday.

The wet conditions underfoot made it difficult for both teams to enjoy extended periods of possession.

The home team adapted much better to the difficult conditions and scrum half Jonathan Stewart was outstanding as he orchestrated for the home team.

An early mistake by Ballymena allowed Wallace to kick ahead and, following several pick and drives, touch down for the opening score.

Ballymena Academy replied with a Josh Bill try from an attacking maul and Bruce Houston added the conversion for a 7-5 lead.

The same player then slotted a penalty towards the end if the half to leave the score 10-5 at half time.

The second half belonged entirely to the home team who capitalised on several mistakes by a surprisingly lacklustre Ballymena Academy side.

Jonathan Stewart slotted a drop goal to reduce the deficit to 10-8 and then a handling error in the midfield was turned over and Wallace raced clear to score in the corner for a 13-10 lead.

Two more penalties late in the game stretched the home team’s lead to 19-10 and the Lisburn team defended strongly to see out the match and confirm themselves as a favourite to make progress in this year’s Schools’ Cup.

Ballymena Academy will now step up their own preparations for the competition which, as a seeded team, they will enter at a leter stage.