Ballynahinch Evergreens 13 Larne 3’s 0
Clem Bassett reports from the Glynn.
The 2013 Evergreens maintained their top of the League position with a gritty performance against a surprisingly strong Larne 3s team. The Evergreens made 9 changes to the previous weeks team and the team on display acquitted themselves well in terrible conditions.
The Evergreens made a strong start and should have scored early in the first half following some sustained pressure from some great play by Brian Stevenson and Emlyn Williamson. The ball proved hard to control in the conditions and the unusual sight of the opposition calling shortened line-outs also kept the Larne men in the game. Jason Barr controlled the ball well at scrum half and gave Paul Koscielny the time he needed to put the Larne men on the back foot.
The break through eventually came when Koscielny hit Bassett with a flat ball and he made the ball available for Williamson who scored close to the posts. The conversion from Barr looked good but the referee failed to raise his arm.
Debutant George Cortvriend and Richard McKelvey were tireless at the breakdown and in the loose and kept the Larne pack thinking and McCarroll, Taylor and Douglas made their considerable experience count in the tight.
Due to the conditions and the strength of the Larne side, skipper Bassett made the decision to permit kicking and this allowed Robert McBriar to take the lead to two scores with a well struck penalty on the half time mark.
The second half appeared ominous due to a combination of playing into the driving rain and up hill. Larne’s tactical naiveity however ensured that the Evergreens were kept in the game and the forwards and backs combined to ruck the ball for long periods of time and effectively keep the ball away from Larne. The back three of James Gregg, Pete McKee and Gareth Bleakley kept their nerve and fielded everything that was thrown at them and took it back to Larne with interest.
Eventually the Evergreens experience counted again and the ball was moved up the right flank resulting in Jason Barr putting the result beyond doubt with 10 minutes remaining.
A great performance from the 2013 Evergreens and now a 2 week break to recover before a home game with last years league winners Malone.
Final Score: Ballynahinch Evergreens 13 Larne 3’s 0