Larne RFC Notes: II XV 31 v Cooke RFC II XV 12 REPORT HERE!

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Larne put Cooke to the sword in revenge home match
by Stephen Johnston

Larne 2nds were the only team in action at home against Cooke as the bad weather had called off Larne’s other games away to Donegal and Rainey.

Larne knew from the away game that resulted in a heart breaking draw against the Belfast team that it was going to be a tough affair once again.

From the kick off Larne caught the ball and took it straight to the visitors and from the first attacking phase, captain G. Knox placed a wonderfully weighted cross field kick to winger J. Johnston who dived over the line for the opening score. McBride converting the first score.

Difficult conditions meant scrappy play at set pieces but Larne proved to be the better team when multiple scrums were taken against the head. One of them proved a vital steal inside the Cooke 22 when J. Burns cleared up a loose ball to create an arcing run to score in the left corner. Unconverted.

With both teams playing a wild kicking game in tough conditions, it was becoming a lottery for retaining the ball. However superb work rate shown by J. Cole and determination to win the ball back proved the extra factor for Larne when a long box kick from B. Garrett was chased by S. Smyth and paid off for the hooker when Cooke’s full back fumbled the ball, only for Smyth to grab the ball over the try line for Larne’s 3rd try of the game. Unconverted.

A final try of the half was created for the home side when A. McBride delayed and offloaded a pass to Knox who scored under the posts and with conversion from McBride, gave Larne a comfortable 24-0 lead at half time.

Larne started the half with 14 men when J. Cole came off with a rib injury and to make matters worse, went down to 13 when M. Gilbert came off too.

With numerical advantage to Cooke it soon paid off for them when they ran down the right hand side to score. Unconverted.

With one try on the board Cooke were rewarded a second try after a well worked scrum move from the backs earned them 7 points when the centre pierced through to score.

As Cooke looked to keep the momentum going, Larne shut them out completely when J. Burns scored his second of the day. A drop kick conversion from R. McAlister ended the game as Larne ran out 31-12 winners.

Larne: A. Ferguson, S. Smyth, C. Rea, M. Gilbert, J. Cole. L. Cameron, G. Jamison, R. McAlister, B. Garrett, A. McBride, Stuart Johnston, G. Knox (c), J. Burns, Jamie Johnston, A. Murray

Fixtures for Saturday 15th February: Larne 1sts v PSNI (Gordon West Cup semi-final), Dromore v Larne 2nds.

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