I had to call at Larne RFC to pick up keys for the Girls fixture on Sunday so while I was there I decided to do cover the match between Larne U18’s and Ballynahinch U18’s. I think i’d be right in saying that this is the first U18 Club match that I’ve covered and, after this highly entertaining game, I’m sure I’ll be back.
I joined the game at half time with the teams locked in a 7 – 7 draw but the second half quickly exploded into life as both teams went through purple patches scoring another five tries in total.
Larne were first to hit their straps with the hard running, and deceptively quick, wing forward, James Smyth, the catalyst. His second baring run of the half saw him outstrip the Ballynahinch defence out wide, for his second try of the game to give Larne a 12 – 7 lead.
Moments later a well worked move saw Aaron Gallagher cross in the opposite corner as the ball sped quickly from side to side and another athletic break from Smyth ended with Liam Slaughter “literally” keeping his head to touch down close to the posts.
The final try was converted by Ethan McCracken to give Larne, what looked like an unassailable 24 – 7 lead mid way through the second half.
However, Ballynahinch enjoyed the better of the remainder of the half and two quick converted tries brought the score to 24 – 21 with just under ten minutes left.
A tense finish saw Ballynahinch come close a couple of times but Larne held on to record a memorable win.