Larne Rugby Club: Larne Men Register First Victory of the Season ~ I XV 8 v Lisburn Rugby Club I XV 6

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After a disappointing performance the previous week against Carrickfergus, Larne 1st XV knew they had a lot to prove in their first League game of the season. Incredibly Larne showed 13 player & positional changes from the successful Cup & League winning side which finished last season.

A few changes to the line up with Ryan Gabbey and Johnny McKinty making their way in to the line up. The match was played in difficult weather conditions with Lisburn playing with the strong breeze at their backs in the first half.

Lisburn were the first to get their foothold on the game with the use of their big pack and the wind behind their backs. It wasn’t long until they registered 3 points when a Larne infringement led to a kickable penalty that was duly slotted over by the Lisburn outhalf. This seemed to spur the Larne team on. The pack began to dominate with Daniel Garstin impressing immensely at openside flanker. After a 15 minute spell the Larne territory paid dividends. A neat back line move saw the ball spun wide to winger Matthew Agnew who dived in at the corner for a score. Garrett was unable to land the difficult conversion in to the stiff breeze.

With plenty of moisture on the ground the ball began to resemble a bar of soap. Handling errors crept in to the game which disrupted facets of play. Just before half time Larne gave away a penalty outside their 22 which the Lisburn slotted over with relative ease.

Larne went in to the second half with confidence even being down by a point. With the wind behind their backs they knew hey could pin the visitors back in their 22. However, the Larne men started thinking it would be easier than it was. Possession was wasted in countless positions of the field frustrating both coaches and spectators. Lisburn tried to run ball in to the strong wind however the Larne team were relentless in defence most notably Ian McIlheron and Rhys Thomas at 12 & 13 who seem to be forming a very exciting centre partnership for the incoming season. As the Larne tackled and turned over the ball they tried to pin the visitors i their own hal however they could not convert the possession in to points. The Larne scrum began to dominate and the Lisburn back 3 began to struggle with the high ball swirling in the winds. With less than 5 minutes remaining Lisburn infringed just outside their 10 metre line. Ryan Garrett told his Captain McFetridge that he wanted a pop at goal. He stood up confidently and slotted the ball between the posts to aplomb of the Larne spectators.

With only a few minutes remaining the Larne team remained dogged in defence and the game finished when Johnny McKinty and Matthew Agnew picked the Lisburn hooker up and carried him in to touch.

Larne were winners 8-6.

Not the greatest of performances by the Larne side however a good win to kick start the new season. It will take a while for this new squad of players to gel however the promising signs are there. Next week they travel to CITY OF Derry 2ND XV in the Junior Cup

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