Larne men see off Ophir to go league season unbeaten

Action from Ophir v Larne held at Cottonmount on Saturday. INLT 15-405-RM
Action from Ophir v Larne held at Cottonmount on Saturday. INLT 15-405-RM

Larne RFC 1st XV are the only Qualifying League team to go through the 2014/15 campaign undefeated.

They completed this achievement on Saturday in their final league match of the season with a 58-17 win away to Ophir RFC.

Ophir prop Wallace Andrews, supported by Neil Gray (left), attempts to break through the Larne defence. INLT 15-404-RM

Ophir prop Wallace Andrews, supported by Neil Gray (left), attempts to break through the Larne defence. INLT 15-404-RM

With promotion confirmed, it gave Larne an opportunity to rest and rotate a few players ahead of this weekend’s Gordon West Cup final against Limavady.

It did not take long for Joe Johnston to make the breakthrough against Ophir with a well-worked try after Rhys Thomas had caused havoc with the hosts’ defence.

Jordan Burns then found his feet with a solo effort to score his first of the day.

But Ophir hit back when scrum-half Karl Davis took the ball from the base of a ruck and twisted his way through three tackles for a 20-metre touchdown which went unconverted.

Larne’s response came courtesy of Rhys Thomas and there was no stopping him on his way to the line, crashing over for a well-taken try.

Burns then stepped up to the mark to bag his second of the day before Ophir’s veteran back row forward Neil Gray drove over to reduce the arrears at half-time.

In the second half Agnew got his hands on the ball to evade a number of defenders and dot down in the corner.

Crampsey opted to run the ball at every occasion as the stiff breeze was proving difficult to kick in to. McReynolds exploited a gap to head straight for the line for a well-earned score.

Ophir’s cause was not helped by winger Stevie Hastings being shown a yellow card for disputing a referee’s decision. Despite that, they managed another try - a brilliant solo effort by Davis from a set scrum 10 metres out. Alan Davis converted but that was the end of the Ophir contribution to the scoreboard.

With clock ticking down, Burns stepped up to the mark again with two long-range efforts followed by Hall bursting through a couple of tackles to score under the posts.

With McBride landing five conversions and a penalty, the final score finished 58-17 to Larne to make it 14 wins from 14 in the league.

All eyes are now fixed on the Kingspan Stadium as Larne face Limavady in Saturday’s Gordon West Cup final.