Banbridge Academy First XV bowed out of the Schools’ Cup on Saturday after losing 6-0 to a determined Portora Royal School.
The match, played in Enniskillen, was a nip and tuck affair but in truth the Academy never really got into their full stride and Portora were able to hold on for a narrow but vital win.
The game started poorly for the Academy as after only one minute an infringement led to a Portora penalty which the home out-half slotted over the posts easily.
Banbridge then forced their way into the game but poor ball retention meant they were never really able to pressurise the Portora defence. Despite Banbridge having most of the possession in the first half, they were unable to trouble the scoreboard and the score remained 3-0 to Portora at half-time.
The second half was to prove even more frustrating for the Academy as Portora upped their game and played controlled rugby to deny the Academy possession.
As time ticked down, the Academy threw everything they had at the opposition but the lack of possession meant it was all in vain.
With five minutes to play, the Portora out-half slotted another kick to take the lead to six points and even a final siege of the Portora goal line was not enough for the Academy to score.
The game ended 6-0 to Portora and even the large travelling support would have to admit that the Fermanagh side were good value for their win.
The Academy side were obviously disappointed with the result, and indeed with a below par performance, but they now move on into the Schools’ Bowl.
They lost in the final of this competition last year and they will put their full effort into trying to go one better this year and winning. They have been drawn to play local rivals Portadown College at home on Saturday 7th February with a 10.30am KO.