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Friends’ in high places

Friends' advanced into the fourth round of the Northern Bank Schools' Cup with an easier than expected victory at Larne Grammar and are now at home to Sullivan Upper.

Larne were put under pressure for long periods and with the visitors having outstanding players in David McGuigan, Michael Cochrane, Rory McIvor, Ross McCaughey and Paddy Pringle they were always going to face a difficult hurdle to overcome.

Larne's capable forwards Johnny Agnew, captain Tom Saunderson and Jonathan Thompson failed to regain the form that helped the team to a convincing victory over Strabane Grammar in the previous round.

It was a brave try by Larne but Friends' adapted better and can be expected to progress further.

They went in front with a try instigated by their No 8 McGuigan. From a scrum ten metres out he gathered and made ground but was brought down two metres short where centre Andrew Vance was on hand to drive over for the first vital score. Craig Lewsley added the conversion.

This lead appeared to boost the visitor's confidence and Larne found themselves under severe pressure. They did their best but the Lisburn team players Dessie Eastwood, McIvor and McGaughey were showing their talents.

Larne did come back but were unable to penetrate the Friends' defence and then they found themselves fourteen points in arrears. A quick burst by Ben Semple into the Larne half eventually led to McGuigan charging in close to the posts for Lewsley to convert.

The visitors were coasting along at this stage as their physical presence was too much and any attempt by Larne to get into the encounter was thwarted. They did create some opportunities but the thought of the deficit appeared to lead to mistakes. Friends' made sure with a late Lewsley penalty

Friends' coach Stephen Robinson though it was a encouraging display: “I thought we were the better team but there will be more difficult hurdles to overcome in the future' he observed.”

Larne Grammar: J.Mitchell, H.Saunderson, A.Blair, A.McBride, J.Henry, S.McIlwaine, R.McKinley, P.Ross, S.McAllister, M.Robinson, M.Alcorn, R.Williamson, J.Agnew, B.Brown, T.Saunderson, B.Hamill, M.Eastop, G.Swann, J.Johnston, R.McAllister, L.Brownlee, A.Carter

Friends' School: C.Lewsley, P. Pringle, M.Cochrane, A.Vance, D.Eastwood, R.McIvor, B.Semple, D.McGuigan, J.Vance, P.Ferguson, R.McCaughey, J.Robinson, C.Ross, A.Trimble, J.McCorkell, D.Seeds, S.Harris, J.Murphy, J.Dennison, P.Anderson, B.McMullan, J.Thompson

Referee: C.Logan

Belfast Telegraph