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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 18:13 GMT
Campbell face major hurdle
Ulster Schools' Cup second oldest rugby competition
Ulster Schools' Cup second oldest rugby competition
Champions Campbell College face a very difficult assignment when they face Wallace High School in the first round of the 2003 Renault Ulster Schools' Cup.

The 22-times winners tackle the fancied Lisburn side on 25 January in their opening defence, but they will be glad of a home draw at Fox's Field.

Other top ties of the first round see Methody take on Coleraine AI and BRA's trip to Regent House.

Campbell, though, will not pose the same threat as last season having lost most of the big men.

Top Schools' Cup wins
29: Methody
26: RBAI
22: Campbell Coll
9: Coleraine AI
8: Royal Armagh
6: Portora Royal
5: Bangor Grammar

Wallace, yet to win the cup, have a powerful forward union unit led by Ulster Schools' captain Chris Henry, and they could cause teams a few problems this season.

Methody, last season's beaten finalists, have won the title on a record 29 occasions and will host Coleraine at Pirrie Park.

Like Campbell, Methody have not started with any great aplomb this season.

However, their wily coach Davy Wells will no doubt have them well versed in the acumen of schools' rugby once January comes around.

The game will be a repeat of the 1992 final in which Coleraine won handsomely.

In that final 11 seasons ago, a young Jonathan Bell created mayhem for the north-west side against a Methody team featuring Jeremy Davidson.

Coleraine have threatened to go all the way on a number of occasions, but have flattered to deceive as their recent record suggests having won only once since 1939.

Davy Wells who has won 11 titles as Methody coach
MCB coach Davy Wells will have team well drilled
Another interesting tie will be the head-to-head between Foyle and Londonderry College and Portadown College in Co Armagh.

These are two teams who have yet to have their name inscribed on the big shield, but while they may never get that honour, they are certainly no walkovers.

There will be plenty of interest in the big Tyrone battle with Omagh Academy taking on Royal School Dungannon.

RBAI, winners in 2000, have received a first-round bye alongside Down High.

First round draw

Portora RS v Ballyclare HS
Qualifier v Ballymena Academy
Bangor GS v Banbridge Academy
Rainey Endowed v Grosvenor HS
Portadown Coll v Foyle and L'Derry College
MCB v Coleraine AI
Regent House v BRA
Sullivan Upper v Dalriada
Friends HS v Limavady GS
Omagh Academy v RS Dungannon
Wellington College v RS Armagh
Belfast HS v Antrim GS
Campbell College v Wallace HS
Carrick GS v Larne GS
Byes: RBAI, Down HS

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Denise Watson reports
Holders Campbell in top tie of the round

HISTORY

RENAULT SCHOOLS' CUP

SUBSIDIARY SHIELD

MEDALLION SHIELD

PHOTO GALLERY
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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