Hall lands double as Larne hit back against Strabane

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Ryan Garrett’s Larne were made to battle against Strabane to claim a 29-13 victory, meaning they remain the only undefeated side in Qualifying 3.

The visitors did not adapt well to the horrendous weatherconditions in the early stages of the encounter and Strabane stormed into an an impressive 13-0 lead.

But two tries from Jonny Hall and another from Gary Mills helped Larne on their way to an hard-fought comeback.

Penalty after penalty gave the home side great field position as they played with the wind and Larne were not doing themselves any favours.

Before they knew it the Glynn men trailed by 13 points with just 10 minutes until the interval.

Having regrouped, Mills got his hands on the ball on a few occasions, causing havoc for the defence. It seemed to give a boost of confidence to his team-mates and they began to battle back.

Solid carries from James McCluggage and Johnston set up quick ball for the backs to spread wide and put Hall in at the corner for their opening try.

It did not take long for a second to arrive when the pack again set up a similar situation by rolling up the middle of the pitch. The ball was then fed to the opposite wing for Mills to cross the line. Phil Andrews had been on point with a conversion and penalty to give Larne a slender half-time lead of 15-13.

The weather did not improve at the break but, with the wind at their backs, skipper Garrett sent a long kick down field to pin the Strabane men on their own five-metre line.

Larne disrupted the lineout ball and forced the turnover. A pick-and-go then opened a few gaps in the defence for Hall to take a great line and score his second of the day.

As the conditions and temperature deteriorated, so did the standard of play.

When Strabane cleared their lines for the last time, a quick lineout saw Cole advance upfield to release McBride who scored in the corner. Andrews converted to leave the final score 29-13.

A well-fought win for the Glynn side puts them in a good position going into this week’s home fixture with Lurgan (14:30).