City of Derry perform well against Larne 2nds
Saturday 10th September saw Larne 2s travel to City of Derry for their first league match of the season.
Larne started the better of the two sides with Ian McIlheron breaking the defensive line straight away only to be brought down 5 meters short of the try line. A City of Derry infringement resulted in a Larne penalty, in which Larne chose to scrum and were put under the pressure from the big City of Derry pack, who gained a free kick and allowed the home team to clear their lines.
Further domination at scrum time for City of Derry scrum resulted in another free kick for the home side which was quickly tapped and spun wide, but Larne Captain Stuart Johnston read this and was able to intercept a loose City Of Derry pass which he offloaded to Andrew Gibson to score under the posts. Gibson adding the 2 point conversions to put the Larne side 7-0 up.
The home team were awarded a penalty in midfield which was spun to their backs and after some broken tackles from strong runners, their winger was able to touch down in the corner. The conversion was missed, 5-7.
Spurred on by the resulting comeback, the home side laid out their game plan and set about picking and going around the rucks which was proving very productive as they were able to work their way up the pitch for another City of Derry try. The tricky wind proving difficult for kicking resulted in the conversion going wide, 10-7.
More missed tackles resulted in a breakaway try for City of Derry, but even a try saving tackle from Jonny Wilson was no good as the attacker got an offload away to score under the posts.
Halftime score saw Larne trailing 17-7.
Ok the resulting kick off of the second half, the Larne side again showed what they can do. After some good forward play the ball was spun out the backs, Andrew Gibson creating space before off-loading to Matthew Caldwell, on debut, showed up his opposite number with great footwork and was able to score in the corner. Conversion missed, but brought the travelling side to within 5 points, 17-12.
Larne were awarded a penalty inside the home 22, to increase their scoreboard tally but the attempt from Johnston went wide.
City of Derry then sprung back into life and with more good forward play they were able to work into the Larne 22 which resulted in ill-discipline from the Larne pack saw a yellow card for William Robinson. City of Derry taking the opportunity with a penalty to score 20-12.
With the Larne side down to 14 men for 10 minutes the home side ran in another three unanswered tries leaving the full time score at 41-12.
This was a very encouraging performance against one of the favourite sides to win the league. For a very young team and a lot of players in new positions due to injuries and unavailability, the team put in a great effort.
With the returning players hopefully available from next week onwards the season is looking very promising.
Larne Man of the Match, Jonny Wilson.