Antrim were hosts to Larne 3rds on Saturday and with a strong win against the PSNI the perivous week it was important to keep the morale alive as they host Bangor 3rds in the next round of the McCambley cup this weekend.
From the kick off both teams were going to find it hard with strong winds blowing across Allen Park. Antrim opted to play into the wind to gain the upper hand in the second half. With the wind in Antrim’s faces Larne were able to kick deep into Antrim’s 22 on every attack piling the pressure on but the Antrim Pack held strong and were able work their way back up field and were soon on the Larne try line only for a handling error to let them down.
With the wind in there backs it wasn’t long until Larne were back in Antrim’s 22 and looked set to take the lead with a penalty only for the wind to play havoc with the ball and to Antrim Delight it was closer to the corner flag giving Antrim the chance to clear their lines and start the march back up field.
It was close to 20 minutes before Antrim opened up the Larne Backline with a lineout on the halfway and quick ball from the lineout saw Neil Manson breeze past the Larne centres and half way in the 22 offloaded to Jonny Campbell to score in the corner unconverted Antrim lead 5-0
from the restart Antrim had to capitalise on the their momentum and with the game sitting at steel mate in the middle of the park Antrim were first to pounce with Neil Manson cutting back in field broke through the Larne defence and putting Antrim meters from the line Antrim looked like extending their lead only for a knock on give Larne a scrum 5 meters from their line this also brought an end to Jonny Campbell’s game and was replaced by Andy Cameron. Larne looked set to get themselves out of trouble from the Scrum only for Gary Walker to pounce on the loss ball and offloading it to John Bull to Crash his way over, unconverted Antrim had some breathing space with a 10-0 lead going into the Second half.
At the start of the second half Antrim now had a change to put the game out of reach with the wind in their favour and pinned Larne back in their 22. However it was a good ten minutes of the Antrim pack wearing down to Larne defence before the ball was shipped out the backline and John bull’s run sucking in two players lift a gapping hole for Neil Manson burst through and touch down under the posts converted Antrim lead 17-0.
From the restart Antrim didn’t look like slowing down and shipped the ball from one side to the other with great ball carrying form Darren Crooks, Dave Sharp and Ricky Robb soon saw Antrim prowling for more points and with the Larne defence disorganised Gary Walker sent William Smith on he’s way to line only to be stopped short he was able to offload to John Bull how crashed over for his second try putting the game out of reach and with two more points form the conversion Antrim’s lead was now 24-0.
From the restart Antrim push again only for a turn over Larne made their way into Antrim 22 and some Stirling defence from Michael Duncan overturning the attack but his bravery was short lived has he was knocked out and had to be carried from the pitch and replaced by Gavin Wilson.
With about ten minutes left to play Antrim were on the surge once more with the Forwards linking will with one an other and saw Scott Johnson, Andy Cameron and Billy Smith mulling their way towards the Larne 22 Antrim looked liked scoring on serial occasions before quick hands from the backline sent Neil Manson on his way and with a two on one he shipped the ball out to Ben Siri to slide over in the corner unconverted Antrim lead 29-0 and an end to the game.
It was a very positive performance from every player saw Antrim on winning ways with a cup match looming Antrim are on a high, final score Antrim 29 Larne 3rds 0 . Although every player gave it his all, Man of the Match was awarded to Neil Manson.