Saunderson scores twice but Larne lose out to Bangor

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Larne’s 1st XV remain bottom of Qualifying Two after they lost in what turned out to be a try-fest against Bangor Saturday.

It was an evenly matched contest in the opening stages of the game but floodgates opened after 20 minutes of play. A lack of concentration and communication allowed Bangor to make the hard stuff look easy as they ran in three consecutive tries. Larne, wary of a rout, hit back when skipper James McCluggage spread the ball wide to the rampaging Chris Rea who galloped up the wing. He was stopped just short of the line, but the ball was quickly recycled to the oncoming Connor Ferguson who crashed over for a score. Garrett slotted the conversion over from out wide.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, Larne continued in the ascendency and it wasn’t long until they were on the score sheet again as Houston Saunderson broke through for an unconverted try to leave the score 19-12 at the break.

In the second half, Larne’s line-out and scrum came under pressure and Bangor moved deeper in to their half and a throw on the five-metre line saw the home side catch and drive and push over for a score. McKinty, Wright and Rea battled to inspire a fightback when their prop landed a well-taken score after a beautiful offload from the Bangor centre.

Larne never gave up and when Garrett danced his way through the Bangor backline, his pass set up Saunderson who ran in for his second of the day. With a sniff of a bonus-point fourth try, Larne threw everything at it. Bangor scored another try in the process but the Larne men continued on the attack. They held a numerical advantage for the last five minutes with the home team’s number 8 yellow-carded but they couldn’t make it count.

It was a gutsy performance by a much-changed Larne side and they go in to this week’s game against Omagh knowing they can score tries.

Larne; Chris Rea, Craig Gibson, David Thomson, James McCluggage (c), Johnny McKinty, Connor Ferguson, Gareth Wright, Eddie Hunter, Ryan Garrett, Gary Knox, Brian Blair, Jonny Hall, Scott Montgomery, Ryan Gabbey, Houston Saunderson.

Fixtures (Saturday, December 1): Larne v Omagh; Larne III v Malone IV.

Find out how Larne RFC’s Under-15s fared against their Carrick counterparts here