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1st XV still unbeaten in League (Saturday 24th September 2011)

Posted On: Monday, September 26, 2011

The Carrick 1st XV held onto their unbeaten League record-but only just- when they defeated Lisburn by 18 points to 15 at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 24th September. Although they led by 18 points to nil at half-time, the Maxol-sponsored Carrick side allowed their opponents to use the elements to take control of territory in the second half and only a determined spoiling effort in the last ten minutes prevented a Lisburn victory. With the scrum under pressure for most of the match, No 8 Curtis Rea did a great job for Carrick in controlling poor ball at the set piece. He was also one of the team’s best ball carriers, well backed up by his back row partners Chris Ferris and Ross Crymble. In the backs, out-half Aaron Mckinney and full-back Kris James kicked well for territory in the first half while Andy McIlroy broke the gain line regularly and scored an excellent try.

Carrick, with the fairly stiff breeze helping them, started strongly and took the lead after fifteen minutes courtesy of a try by Kris James. Following a break by Andy McIlroy, the ball was quickly re-cycled and James split the Lisburn defence to go over. The try was not converted. Five minutes later, the Carrick forwards drove into opposition territory and, when the ball was released to the backs, Andy McIlroy ran an excellent line, coming back on the angle, to go through the Lisburn defence to score from forty metres out. Again, the try was not converted but Carrick, who continued to control territory, extended their lead after thirty minutes when McIlroy put over a penalty from the Lisburn 10 metre line. Then, three minutes later, Curtis Rea broke through the visitors’ defence in mid-field to send Johnny Sheriff, who had run a great support line, in for a try. This was not converted and left the home side leading by 18 points to nil at half-time.

The second half was virtually a mirror image of the second, with Lisburn making very good use of the wind to play most of the game in their opponents’ territory. They got their first points after six minutes of the half when they ran back a poor Carrick kick and split the defence in mid-field and, with quick transfer, created an opening for one of their centres to go in. The try was converted. Ten minutes later, the home side’s failure to gather a speculative kick by Lisburn gave the visitors their second try when their No 8 gathered and went over. This try was not converted. Lisburn continued to control territory and further narrowed the gap with a penalty after twenty-two minutes of the second half. This set up a very nervy last quarter for Carrick but their defence held and the back row did a great job in denying Lisburn the quality possession they needed to get the winning score. The game finished with Carrick winners by 18 points to 15.

A bit of a curate’s egg performance from Carrick- good in parts- but, with four wins out of four in the League, this is their best start for some years and they have every incentive to work on the necessary improvements. On Saturday 1 October, Carrick entertain University of Ulster, Coleraine in the first round of the Junior Cup.
The Carrick team which faced Lisburn was:
K. James; D. Crothers, J. Sheriff, A. McIlroy, D. Kirkpatrick; A. McKinney, M Patterson; E. McBrien, G. Baxter, D. McKeen(Capt), A. Kincaid, O. Lecky, C. Ferris, R. Crymble, C. Rea.

Also on Saturday, 2nd XV lost by 39 to 17 at Ballymoney while the 3rds had a convincing home win against Ards 45-17.

Fixtures for Saturday 1 October are:
1st XV vs UUC, Junior Cup, home
2nd XV vs Cooke II, away
4th XV vs Civil Service II, home
5th XV vs CIYMS IV, away
Under 19s vs Coleraine, away

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