Larne RFC 1st XV kicked off their season with an impressive 48-12 victory away to Lurgan in the group stages of the Gordon West Cup.
Playing into a stiff breeze in the first half, the Larne men did well to control majority of possession.
However, a few penalties allowed Lurgan to take an early lead against the run of play.
This only fuelled the visitors and some great lines of running from Scott Montgomery put the team in good field position. Having sucked the Lurgan backs in, it gave the opportunity to Phil Andrews to float a pass wide to Chris Moore who scored the first of his two tries on his 1st XV debut.
It was exactly the break Larne needed to get things moving in their direction. Gary Mills soon crashed over for the first of his three tries on what was an impressive return to the team after a year away.
Good defence, particularly from Jamison and Wright, prevented the Lurgan men from crossing the line and the score at half time was 15-9 to Larne.
With plenty left in the tank going into the second half, Larne shifted up a few gears and proved too much for the opposition. The pack was dominant in the scrum, giving Larne plenty of ball to work from. Tries soon followed from Garrett, Rea and Montgomery.
The final score was 48-12 but there is plenty to work ahead of this week’s Qualifying Three clash away to Holywood.
Larne: C. Rea, C. Gibson, S. McWhirter, J. Cole, C. McKinty, G. Jamison, G. Wright, E. Hunter, R. McIlheron, P. Andrews, C. Moore, G. Mills, A. McBride, S. Montgomery, R. Garrett
Larne II lost 17-31 in a creditable performance against Bangor II.
The opening stages of the game were well contested and Larne had the chance to go in front with a penalty from Carter, but was wide.
Bangor were first onto the board with a strong maul from the line-out the basis for a try from their number eight. A successful conversion saw them lead 0-7.
Larne lost some composure and conceded three more tries giving Bangor a 0-26 advantage.
Hard running by Rhys Thomas lifted Larne as he powered over the try line to leave the half-time score at 5-26.
Matthew Agnew started the second session strongly with precise kicking and strong passing helping the home side get ahold.
Heads were high when a quick lineout was taken inside the Bangor 22 and the experienced Derek Lough surged over the line to inspire a fightback.
It was end-to-end action in the last quarter of the game when Bangor scored another try, but from Larne’s restarting kick, Mark McIlheron won the ball back and Steven McDowell split the defence for a score which Agnew converted.
Larne piled on the pressure in the last 10 minutes but Bangor held out to claim the win.
Larne II: A. Ferguson, S. Smyth, D. Lough, S. McDowell, G. Liddle, L. Cameron, R. McAlister, Mark McIlheron, M. Agnew, G. Knox (c), N. Kelso, R. Thomas, Ian McIlheron, A. Carter
Meanwhile, Larne III ran out 17-7 winners over Randalstown III. The try scorers were Jordan Burns and Steven McAllister. Conversions and a penalty by John O’Toole. Larne II: J. Butler, B. Meikle (c), D. McCann G. Agnew, P. Reid, Z. Bartley, R. Adair D. Hagan, J. O’Toole, S. Marshall, W. Marks, S. McAllister, J. Burns, J. Shirley, A. Brennan, A. M