Limavady GS v Wellington College
Limavady Grammar will host Wellington College (Belfast) on Saturday morning (kick-off 11am) hoping they can find a clinical edge to get them over the line and a place in the early afternoon second round draw.
It has been a season of transition for the North West school’s squad which has just two of last season’s successful team returning for this campaign.
Thecoaching team of Chris Nash, Sam Vallelly and Brian Hughes realise this period of transition applies, in the main, to them as well.
They have worked hard with a very young squad to establish an effective series of game plans. They have found themselves in a winning position in a number of games this season only to lose out in the dying minutes of these encounters.
The one major consistent factor in all these games has been the desire of the players to learn from their mistakes. Team captain, Scott McLean, has led from the front and, even in defeat, has impressed with his maturity, leadership and high levels of skilled performances.
Everyone involved has been working hard to learn how to retain possession in critical areas of the pitch, close out games when leading in the final quarter of games and develop a sense of confidence that will be sufficient to carry them through to next stage.
Critical to this will not only be the leadership of Scott McLean but, also, the performances of players such as Darren Corrigan, Oliver Mullan and Sheagh McLaughlin. Scott Patton and Gareth Kee are the leading try scorers in the course of the season so far.
Wellington College, for the first time in many seasons have a large number of players available for selection. The coaching staff, Peter Chambers, a former Ulster Schools’ Cup winner, Simon Fitzgerald and Gareth Montgomery, took their squad to a mid-term training camp in Portugal and had successful games against Gresham College and a Portugese U18 Regional team.
Team captain, James Hayes, leads from the front and he forms a formidable front row trio alongside Karl Sloan and Ross Dunning.
The top try scorer, David Montgomery has averaged almost one try per game during the season is sure to catch the eye, while Ethan Sweeney and Luke Harris form an effective half back partnership and these players attempt to bring their outside backs into the game at every opportunity.
Leading points scorer on the College team is place kicker, Jamie Hewitt. He has a rugby pedigree second to none as he is the grandson of former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions player, John Hewitt.
He has had a phenomenal goal kicking success already this season and Limavady will know they have to maintain discipline.