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Carrick Youth continue in winning ways at Ophir (1 October 2011)

Posted On: Monday, October 3, 2011

Under 17 No Game
Under 15 v Ophir RFC 0-28 (A)
Under 13 v Ophir RFC 0-58 (A)

Carrick RFC Youth sponsored by NK LTD, last Saturday traveled to the sports complex at the Valley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey to play their final warm up fixtures before the start of their Ulster League campaign next week.

Under 13s
The U13s watched by a large following of enthusiastic parents took to the field first and this young and improving side was soon into its stride with the forwards running aggressively and the backs showing much improved handling skills in attack. Kyle Bell, Cameron McClean and most notably captain Gareth Hartley were all making significant gains with the ball in hand and dynamic scrum half Adam white was providing a plentiful supply of ball for the back division. Conor Gascognie, James Heyburn and Nathan Forsthye all impressed in the backs with a number of line breaking runs from each of them. The first half ended with Carrick having scored 5 tries without reply from the opposition.

The second half saw Carrick continue to rotate its traveling squad of 22 players but this did not affect the quality of the rugby being played. The forward pack generally continued to ruck well and showed a much improved level of support play and offloading. Garth Hartley in particular put in another excellent personal performance at No.8 ending up with a total of 4 tries before being rested. To their credit Ophir competed gallantly to the end and on several occasions only desperate defense from the away side keep them out. At the final whistle Carrick had added another 5 tries to their tally with 4 in total being converted.

Final score: Ophir 0 Carrick U13s 58
Man of the Match: Carrick No: 8 Gareth Hartley.

Under 15s
Carrick U15’s followed their U13’s into their last friendly before next week’s elite league opener at Malone with a game against Ophir at the Valley Leisure Centre.

It’s never easy starting a youth rugby team almost from scratch but Ophir have done a magnificent job with their team and right from the warm-up the Carrick team knew they would be in for a battle. The Carrick coaches took the opportunity to give game time to a host of their younger squad members and they in turn matched up to the efforts of their rather larger opposition. The game was finely poised 10 minutes in when Jake Gardiner, one of the few senior squad members took a quick tap penalty and surprised Ophir as he dived over the line. The rest of the first half provided no further scoring but both sides gave the large crowd plenty of thrills and spills and Ophir turned around with slope advantage with all to play for in the second period.

Carrick however carried ball in hand with much more determination and the introduction of Aaron Rea and Jamie Craig leant more steel to the attack. Rea broke free on the left and sprinted through 3 tackles for a magnificent try which Wallace failed to convert but five minutes later Wallace himself danced past several opponents to score another wonderful try, again he failed to convert. Wallace made another searing break but was hauled down short of the line then instantly popped the ball to the supporting Aaron Rea who dived over for his second of the morning.
Five minutes later Aaron Rea appeared on the left wing and finished his hat trick in style with another great run. Then came the moment we all were waiting a lifetime to see when Sam Wallace once again held a master class in neat footwork to blast through the Ophir defense and sprint clear to dive a la English winger Ashton only to drop the ball over the dead ball line to whoops of laughter from both touchlines. Super entertainment but I don’t think Sam will so that again in a hurry. Referee Glen McCord was laughing so hard he couldn’t find the puff to blow the whistle to signal the end of the game.

Great, great entertainment and well done to both sides for fielding so many promising players. Next stop Malone next week for some serious league business.

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