BANBRIDGE Academy surged into the quarter-finals of the Schools’ Cup with a comprehensive four try win over Cambridge House.
Cambridge started the better of the two sides with a nervous Banbridge making too many mistakes and inviting pressure from the Cambridge side.
The visitors opened the scoring with a long range penalty from scrum-half Timmy Small and but for a superb tackle from Academy full-back Josh Watson might well have added a try.
This seemed to spark the Academy into life and as they started to gain control and territory they were rewarded with a penalty from scrum-half Aaron Kennedy. As the first half drew to a close Banbridge ran a smart set piece play from a set scrum and centre Glenn Rowan went in under the posts. Kennedy added the extras to make it 10-3 at half time.
The second half was a more one sided affair as Banbridge hit their stride from the start. Kennedy added another penalty on 40 mins and five minutes later wing Christopher Watt finished off a flowing move to take the score to 18-3.
Further pressure from the home side resulted in hooker Jordan Buchanan diving over from close range and Kennedy again added the extras. With five minutes remaining Kennedy pounced on a loose ball and scrambled over the line for his side’s fourth try.
Overall this was an impressive performance from Banbridge but to their credit Cambridge never stopped trying and their attitude was a credit to them.
For the winners Kennedy had a great day as did his half-back partner Marc Stevenson whose kicking game was excellent. Up front flanker David McKeown and No 8 Colin McGregor worked tirelessly all day and set a good platform for the exciting backline.
Banbridge are now rewarded with a place in the last eight of the Schools’ Cup. It has been somewhere in the region of 30 years since the school have progressed so far and players, coaches and the school community in general are excited by what has been achieved.
They now face the unenviable task of taking on Cup favourites Methodist College at their Belfast grounds but the team are riding on a high on the back of the three wins that have brought them to this stage of the competition and will relish the challenge ahead.
The quarter final is due to take place on Saturday 25th February at Methody’s Pirrie Park ground. The kick-off time has still to be confirmed but all support would be most welcome.