We gave them space and they hit top gear, laments Robin­son

Belfast Telegraph - School's Cup - - SCHOOLS’ CUP FINALS 2019 - BY MICHAEL SADLIER

BRIAN Robin­son sat down and sighed be­fore mulling over how it had all gone wrong for Camp­bell Col­lege.

Ad­mit­tedly, it was never go­ing to be any­thing other than a mon­u­me­nal chal­lenge to bring the cup back to east Belfast for an­other year.

Head coach Robin­son (be­low) recog­nised the ex­tent of what had faced Camp­bell, which was a rea­son­able call against a side of Methody’s qual­ity, but he still felt his side had sur­ren­dered too much to the new hold­ers of the tro­phy.

“It was go­ing to be a tall or­der,” said Robin­son af­ter see­ing his team con­cede seven tries.

“We went in with a game-plan we thought would hurt them, but we just gave them too much space and couldn’t pull it back.”

“You have to get in the right po­si­tions to make it count and Methody, well, two things — they don’t kick the ball out and they’re very dis­ci­plined, so if you lose that ter­ri­tory bat­tle you don’t get those po­si­tions.

“I thought we’d a cou­ple of chances to do it (score more than two tries) and our li­ne­out, which was so good, saw us not re­ally get clean ball just af­ter half­time, which would have given an op­por­tu­nity to launch again and put pres­sure on them.

“That didn’t hap­pen and it meant that we didn’t re­ally squeeze them af­ter their score just af­ter half-time.”

Key to the game was how the first half had fin­ished and how the sec­ond had be­gun. Trail­ing 14-10, as 35 min­utes on the clock crept ever closer, Camp­bell had put two penal­ties into the cor­ner and were hop­ing to repli­cate their ear­lier, and im­pres­sive, mauled try which had seen Harry Jack­son get on the end of a black pha­lanx.

But, some­how, Methody held them out for a vi­tal turnover.

And then the killer blow. Thirty-three sec­onds into the new half, Methody’s Thomas Arm­strong was in un­der the posts af­ter an im­pres­sive line bust from the team in white.

14-10 had be­come 21-10 and that, in turn, moved on to 26-10 when Cal­lum David­son dived over. “The one thing about this Methody side is that they have a lot of pace, and once they had front-foot ball they ran good lines and were quick and took their chances,” said Robin­son.

“So that gave them a buffer, and I sup­pose against a side like them, who have been un­beaten through­out the sea­son, they know how to win.

“We just fluffed our lines in bad ar­eas and they cap­i­talised.

“Once they got that gap they were com­fort­able,” he added, while also sug­gest­ing that Camp­bell maybe also just had too much de­fend­ing to do in that open­ing 35 min­utes.

Still, as with Methody, it is time for a re­build.

“Eleven boys are now leav­ing and have done a re­ally good job, but we’ve some good groups com­ing through, so lots of promis­ing stuff to look for­ward to.”

Even so, los­ing this one, and in such a man­ner, clearly hurt.

ROB­BIE COOPER

Full force: Matthew Poor drives Camp­bell for­ward

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