Following a highly successful tour in Rome from which the team took two high scoring wins, the scene was set for a successful cup run. Preparation for the tournament was intensive, and it clearly paid off: RSD began with an emphatic 35-0 win over Antrim Grammar in the 2nd round. The match saw Peter Nelson in great form, and he scored 30 of RSD’s 35 points and grasped a hat-trick of tries. Peter Cashel ran in the fourth try.
Although the win was comfortable, RSD were not at their full potential – a standard they would need to reach they were to progress to the 4th round of the cup by defeating Coleraine AI. This draw saw RSD getting the home advantage and it appeared to have an immediate effect on the team as within minutes a quickly-taken penalty by Peter Nelson provided the platform for RSD to score an unconverted try through Peter Cashel. This lead was further increased to 8-0 through a Nelson Penalty. RSD defended ably in the opening 20 minutes of the 1st half, when both sides enjoyed spells of attacking play. However, when the RSD defence became slack and disorganised for a 10 minute period before half-time, CAI took full advantage and ran-in four tries, to produce a miserable half-time score of 26-8.
RSD struck first in the 2nd half when Nelson fed Cashel who broke through the CAI defence to force a score in the corner. Nelson decreased the deficit further when he read the CAI attack, intercepting the ball and brushing through the defence to score an unconverted try.
The efforts of the RSD team were not enough however as CAI confirmed their place in the 4th round through a 5th try in the closing stages of the match giving them a deserved 33-18 win much to the disappointment of the RSD players and staff. A better 1st half performance could have seen the tie go in favour of the home team.
RSD’s challenge for the Bowl was met by Banbridge Academy; and again there was optimism as RSD had home advantage. However, following the very physical CAI match, the home team had lost a few players to injury, and thus the game was very hard to call. The half-time score favoured the visitors 3-0, although this didn’t seem to adequately represent RSD’s domination in terms of possession and territory.
Banbridge made the first move in the 2nd half scoring a try in the corner, and RSD replied immediately from the restart with Adam Boyle forcing his way over for an unconverted try. This only proved to spur the Banbridge team on as they scored three further tries. RSD could only answer with two tries from Peter Nelson and Frankie Yuen. Thus, Banbridge ran out 27-17 victors leaving RSD to reluctantly bow out of the competitive aspect of the rugby season.
Throughout the 1st XV cup campaign the RSD team were heavily supported and on behalf of the team I would like thank those who came out and journeyed with the team through the Schools Cup. Your support is greatly appreciated by the squad. Further thanks most go to the coaching staff of the senior rugby squads (Mr Patton, Mr Willis and Mr Ritchie) and to David Pollock who set aside his personal time to work with the 1st team. His experience and advice to the team was greatly beneficial and helpful in strengthening the structure and quality of the squad.