Down High 1st XV would probably have benefited from a sterner challenge as they prepare to face Coleraine Inst in the Schools Cup next Saturday (11.00 am) but they made the most of a game against a disappointingly weak Larne side and retained structure throughout to record a comprehensive 54 point victory.
The opening score came with 8 minutes gone when Kelvin Hamilton broke through a number of weak tackles to score under the posts, Justin Rea added the conversion to give the home team an early 7 – 0 lead. The weak tackling from the opposition continued and 5 minutes later it was Ricky Gill who took advantage and sprinted in from 30 meters for the second try, Justin Rea added the conversion to take the lead to 14 – 0. Down High resisted the temptation to try to run everything and instead stuck to disciplined patterns and were rewarded again with 23 minutes gone when the ball was moved quickly from a ruck, Luca Rea opted to go for the line and was rewarded with a try to the left of the posts, Justin Rea added the extras to take the score to 21 – 0. Ben Hale scored 2 tries before half time, the first came after Down High won a 5 meter scrum against the head and Hale dived over, the second saw him on the end of a fine handling and with both tries converted by Justin Rea the halftime score stood at 35 – 0.
The second half saw a period of token resistance from Larne but with 47 minutes gone Down High moved the ball wide to release Luc Bonnargent who made good ground before feeding Jack Calvert who finished under the posts, Justin Rea again landed the conversion taking the score to 42 – 0. Bonnargent then grabbed a try for himself after another excellent move which saw the ball pass through several pairs of hands and with the last move of the match Chris Martin collected a pass and found himself with the space to run in from 20 meters, Justin Rea converted taking the final score to 54 – 0.
Coleraine Inst will undoubtedly provide very much tougher opposition next week but Down High will be confident that they can rise to the challenge and importantly coaches John Gunson and Charlie Knox have no injury worries as they sit down to select the squad for the match.