A PLACE in the quarterfinals of the Medallion Shield awaits Regent House after they produced a statement performance to knock out Royal School, Dungannon away from home on Tuesday.

Unlike three days prior, when the tie had to be postponed as a result of a frozen pitch, rugby conditions were perfect in County Tyrone and with nerves evident, the atmosphere was eerily quiet. However, as parents and squad members began to line the touchline, the Medallion squad started to find their bravery and following the prematch huddle came the flip of the switch.

Dominating the early play, Regent were relentless with their carries and pressure, but could not find the killer pass. A lineout on the opposition fivemetre line was cleanly won, but a fumble provided Dungannon relief. They tried to clear, but the Regent men were hunting like wild dogs and there was no escape as the visitors gained a penalty on the 10-metre line. Tom Bell elected to kick for posts, indiscipline from RSD saw them charge the kick and the penalty was given 10 metres further forward. This time Regent, who dominated in the air, won possession before flashing to the backs. Bell went to the line and offloaded to the oncoming Matthww Callaghan who hit the line like a bullet and penetrated the defence to score under the posts for obvious delight and emotion after Regent went 7-0 up with Bell’s conversion.

From the kick-off, Dungannon’s pack woke up and there was an onslaught. A couple of penalties allowed the big Tyrone pack to drive over for a score of their own and they converted well from wide out. This would prove to be the last time Dungannon would visit the Regent 22 for the rest of the game. With Treshon James and Oliver Crawford playing like men possessed, Dungannon were afforded no time on the ball and the red wall forced mistake after mistake, though Regent were guilty on occasion of being slow to support. On the far side of the pitch, the away side were deemed to have had hands in the ruck and referee Richard Kerr immediately showed a yellow to Noah Leeman.

Regent continued to dig in with 14 men and a relieving kick to touch from a penalty brought about half-time with the scores level at 7-7. The Dungannon huddle was visibly upset and shocked at what they had encountered, aware they were second best in the first half. From the restart, Regent went on the attack again. Bell used his howitzer of a boot to relieve the pressure and the kick chase was excellent, James Wilson and Kris Burgess made some amazing hits and stopped attacks at source, while the tight pack ensured Dungannon had to stay honest.

Regent restored their lead after the pack abrasively made their way towards the line and taking over possession, number 8 Lewis Robinson made a massive contact before stretching out between the tacklers to spot the ball in the try zone. Bell was unable to add the conversion but it was 12-7 Regent. More Regent pressure in defence and more turnovers followed, with the Newtownards school’s dominance leading to a penalty which Bell took the points from to take the game beyond a score at 15-7. The kick-off was taken well and Regent were away again with Robinson blasting through the defence. One ball that went loose was snapped up by Finn McClean on the wing and Zac Parker, who was immense at centre, was on hand to protect the ball.

Another spate of penalties allowed Regent to get clean ball from the lineouts and they were unfortunate not to pull further ahead when Callaghan fell short after forcing his way through. Hooker Kain Anderson was pretty accurate with the darts and more dominance in the air allowed Regent to attack again, with Oliver Dempsey caught short and Treshon James making valuable yards. The ball was recycled over and over and again, before Robinson, collecting from five yards out, charged at the home defence like a wrecking ball to score. The conversion was good and the score pushed out to 22-7. Joy exploded all over the park at the sound of the final whistle as Regent players and supporters alike revelled in victory.

Commenting after the result, Medallion coach David Thompson said: “We are proud of them all and thankful to work with such a hardworking group of lads. “The question we ask these guys is, do they believe? The answer is yes and that is because you should always be rewarded for hard work. “31 players were involved on Tuesday, with young Ethan in his sick bed. Man of the match could have gone to any one of them,” he added. “Zac Parker was outstanding and each week, he’s the calm head among the backs and controls the game. It was hard to tell he was up against two Ulster Schools centres as I thought both he and Matthew Callaghan looked after them all day. “But the accolade goes to Oliver Crawford for an all-action performance, who rucked like a possessed man with great takes from the kickoff, tackles and carries. “Thank you to the supporters that came out to watch us, the support is greatly appreciated. “The coaches now have to take a few Valium and start to think about our match on Saturday against Methody at the Comber Road – then we need to prepare for the quarterfinals!”