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Larne turn up heat on Ballynahinch ahead of top-two tussle

By RONNIE INGRAM

Ballynahinch IV dropped their first league points of the season when they could only draw 6-6 with Lisburn II.

They now share the lead of in Junior Two with Larne II, who easily accounted for Dromore II 33-5.

Both teams are on 13 points with Larne having played an extra game, so their meeting at Glynn on Saturday will be more than interesting.

Larne were strengthened by the return of key trio John O'Toole, Matthew Agnew and Stephen Johnston after injury and they all played a crucial part in the win.

"The forwards had the upper hand from early in the game," said captain Stephen Johnston.

"Peter Reid and Steven McAlister were carrying well and Luke Cameron was jumping high to gain more than our share of possession at the line-out and our backs used it wisely."

Larne used the wind intelligently in the first period with long probing kicks by out-half Gary Knox and took the lead when Bobby Garrett's quickly taken penalty led to Johnston scoring beside the posts for Agnew to add the drop kick conversion.

The impressive Craig Gibson then took a very good line to go in for the second which was also goaled.

A neat chip over the defence allowed Knox to claim the next which was also goaled, but the best try of the afternoon was still to come.

The ball was spread wide for winger Nick Kelso to break through a couple of tackles which set up the sweeping move that resulted in Jamie Johnston touching down.

Agnew added the difficult conversion before a penetrating back move set up Johnston to go in at the corner to give Larne a 33-0 half-time lead.

Stephen Johnston added: "It was a rewarding half for us but then it was the turn of Dromore to pile on the pressure and we managed to hold them out until a determined effort saw their winger Stewart Johnston cross on the left.

"We can take a lot from this win but a big effort is needed at training this week before we face Hinch.

"We are a progressive club and a number of players in our squad have come up through the Junior ranks.

"There were more than 100 kids at Mini Rugby on Saturday and we will be hoping for more on our Open Day for parents this week-end.

"It all looks good for the future."

In the other Junior Two game played Bangor II beat Enniskillen II 22-12 while Cooke II v Portadown II was postponed.

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