With the Firsts out of action, Larne Rugby Club’s Seconds took centre stage on Saturday and they impressed with a 66-5 home win over Banbridge III.
The Glynn men asserted their authroity when Johnny McKinty, returning from injury, surged up field. Banbridge tried to shut the early momentum out from their own try line, but Peter Reid carried well before offloading to McKinty to score the home side’s opening try.
McBride was on hand with the next score after he spotted a gap in the defensive line.
Ryan McAlister showed how well he could run with the ball when a two-on-one move was passed out to Brian Blair who raced down the sideline and scored.
Banbridge tried hard to run with the ball, but a turnover by the Larne forwards gave Bobby Garrett his first try of the day. His second came a short time later when he supported Mark McIlheron’s run from a penalty.
Garrett then ran a great line and offloaded to Gary Knox to score the first of his two tries on the day.
Reid marshalled Larne’s defensive line when he stifled Banbridge’s attack to create a brilliant solo turnover.
In the last play of the half, neat footwork from Nick Kelso released Knox to score in the corner to record a 45-0 half-time lead.
The fast-paced tempo of the first half disappeared in the second session as a tighter game developed between the two sides. Banbridge looked to their backs and created some good phases to show what they could do.
However, Garrett’s hat-trick try dented Banbridge’s hopes of mounting a fightback as he cruised over the line.
Reid leaped high from the resulting kick-off and stormed up the pitch in search of a solo score, but a try-saving tackle from the Banbridge full-back halted his charge.
Garrett’s Man of the Match display would have been rounded off with a fourth score after a spectacular chip-and-chase kick, but he fumbled the ball at the line.
A superb effort from the Banbridge centre, who danced his way through the Larne rearguard, was the visitors’ only consolation.
Larne’s final tries came from Aaron Carter and Mark McIlheron. McBride converting eight out of 10 kicks in a good display.
Larne: D. Lough (c), R. McAlister, S. McWhirter, G. Liddle, P. Reid, L. Cameron, M. McIlheron, J. McKinty, B. Garrett, A. McBride, N. Kelso, G. Knox, C. Moore, B. Blair, A. Carter.
Fixtures (October 19): Larne v Civil Service (Gordon West Cup); Clogher Valley v Larne II; Carrick v Larne III.