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Weekend round-up (17 September 2011)

Posted On: Monday, September 19, 2011

The Maxol sponsored Carrick 1st XV maintained their unbeaten League record, and stayed top of the Table, with a hard-fought 19-14 away win over Ballyclare on Saturday 17th September. The breezy and, in the second half, damp conditions were not conducive to flowing rugby and both sides made a lot of handling errors. The foundations of the Carrick victory were laid by the pack which competed ferociously in the loose and kept scrum and line-out, for the most part, as solid as the conditions allowed. The back-row of Neil Marsden, Ross Crymble and Curtis Rea tackled and carried well. Curtis Rea put in another virtually flawless performance in the line-out where he was ably supported by Chris Rea. Andy Kincaid in the second row was back to his combatative best after his long injury lay-off and carried and tackled effectively. The front row of David McKeen, Glen Baxter and Gary Leslie mainained a solid scrum and McKeen in particular was prominent in the loose. Behind the pack, out-half Aaron McKinney kicked accurately out of hand and, particularly in the second half, tried to ensure that Carrick played the game in the right parts of the field. While there was not much opportunity for flowing rugby, Luke Whittal and Andy McIlroy put in a number of gain-line breaking runs.

Carrick took time to settle into the game and the early stages were dominated by Ballyclare although they missed two early chances to take the lead through penalties. The home side did eventually take the lead after thirteen minutes when they scored a well-worked try off a 5 metre scrum, the winger coming inside to take the scoring pass in the left-hand corner. However, the referee appeared to have missed a Ballyclare knock-on in the build-up! The try was not converted. With both sides continuing to make a lot of mistakes, Ballyclare shaded the territorial battle for most of the first half . However, Carrick finally got onto the score-board in the thirty-sixth minute when Luke Whittal put over a penalty awarded after a stong run by David McKeen. The home side replied with one of their own a minute later but Whittal kicked another penalty in injury time so that the teams went into the break with Ballyclare leading by 8 points to 6.

Carrick made the worst possible start to the second half with a player yellow-carded and a penalty to the home side right in front of the posts. This was duly kicked to take Ballyclare into an 11 points to 6 lead. With rain starting to fall, the error rate on both sides remained high and Carrick were tending to kick away too much possession. After twenty-three minutes of the half, the visitors earned a penalty just outside the Ballyclare 22 and Luke Whittal converted to bring Carrick within two points. Ten minutes later, they took the lead for the first time when scrum-half Michael Patterson darted over from a ruck close to the Ballyclare line. The try scoring opportunity was created when Luke Whittal made a break in mid-field and was then driven deep into the Ballyclare 22 by his forwards. Whittal added the conversion to give Carrick a 16 points to 11 lead.Ballyclare came back with a penalty with five minutes of normal time left but Whittal kicked his fourth penalty two minutes into injury time to make the score 19 points to 14 in Carrick’s favour.They then had to endure a lengthy period of injury time before the final whistle went to confirm their second away victory in a row.

While this was far from a classic, and there is plenty for the coaches to work on, it was gratifying to get an away win at a venue where Carrick have struggled to get results in the past.
The Carrick team was:
L. Whittal; D. Crothers, J. Sheriff, A. McIlroy, B. Alexander; A. McKinney, M.Patterson; D. McKeen(Capt), G. Baxter, G. Leslie, C. Ferris, A. Kincaid, N. Marsden, R. Crymble, C. Rea.

Under 19s
On Friday night, the IBS-sponsored Carrick Under 19s travelled to Shaw’s Bridge where they defeated Instonians by 21 points to 17. The home side started the brighter but second half tries by Jack Millar and Marcus Brush, together with three penalties and a conversion from Adam Kendall, secured the win for Carrick. “Man of the Match” was shared between Johnny Murray and Ethan Clark. The Carrick team was: M. Bingham, K. Topping, J. Simmonds, L. Wilson, P. Simpson, M. Brush(Capt), C. Ward; R. Hamilton, A. Kendall, D. Wilson, J. Murray, R.Armstrong, R. McKay, C. Taylor, J. Millar, E. Clark.

Other results
The 2nd XV lost a tight game against Clogher Valley by 12 points to 10.
The 3rd and 4th XV games were both cancelled by their opposition.
The 5th XV had a tremendous finish to their game beating Ballynahinch 6s by 26 points to 24, in spite of being behind by 17 points with 20 minutes to go!

Fixtures for Saturday 24th September are:
1st XV vs Lisburn, home
2nd XV vs Ballymoney II, away
3rd XV vs Ards III, home
4th XV vs Larne III, home

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