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1st XV impress with much improved performance

Posted On: Monday, January 16, 2012

Carrick 1st XV produced one of their best performances for some time against Bangor at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 21 January and, with only fourteen men for seventy minutes, were unlucky to come away with just a 12 points apiece draw. In contrast to the previous week, Carrick played much of the game in the right areas of the field, defended well and won the battle of the break-down. Despite losing blind-side flanker Neil Marsden to an arm injury after ten minutes, the Carrick scrum held up well and the Maxol-sponsored home side had control of the game for long periods. For a second week in a row aagainst Bangor ,Ross Marsden had an outstanding game at open-side while Andy Kincaid again made his physical presence felt. The quality of line kicking was much better on this occasion, with Karl Wilkinson, Glen Picken and Andy McIlroy, looking much more comfortable at full-back, pegging Bangor back time after time.

Carrick began strongly and, in contrast to the Towns’ Cup game the previous week, were making their first up tackles and putting the visitors under pressure. Even the loss of Neil Marsden with an arm injury after ten minutes did not noticeably alter Carrick’s command of territory. They deservedly took the lead after twenty-one minutes when Aaron McKinney scored a superb individual try from the 22 off a neat inside pass from Karl Wilkinson. McKinney stepped at least two defenders and broke through a couple of tackles on his way to the line. Wilkinson added the conversion points. Carrick continued to play the game in the Bangor half even in the period when they were down to thirteen men because of a yellow card. Indeed, a further yellow card for Carrick and one for Bangor had fourteen men playing twelve for a few minutes! Despite the disruption, Carrick held on comfortably and went into half-time leading by 7 points to nil.

In the seond minute of the second half, Carrick made their first defensive error when a first up tackle was missed on their 10 metre line and Bangor broke clear to score in the corner. The try was not converted so the home side still had a slender lead.From this point on, most of the game was played in the Bangor half, with Wilkionson, Picken and McIlroy continuing to win the kicking dual with their opponents. Carrick had a number of opportunities but did not take them until, with ten minutes to go, a Karl Wilkinson penalty attempt came back off the upright, Carrick gathered and moved the ball quickly left for Jason Wady to squeeze in at the corner. The try was not converted but Carrick now led by 12 points to 5. With just minutes remaining, however, the visitors broke out of their own 22, Carrick were slow to spot the direction the attack was taking and Bangor ended up with a three on one on half-way from which they sent their winger clear to score.Andy McIlroy actually did a good job in trying to prevent the score, forcing the initial ball-carrier to slow down and throw what was clearly a forward pass to his winger. Unfortunately the referee was not in a position to spot it. The Bangor try was converted to leave the score tied at 12 points apiece. In the few minutes remaining, Carrick came straight back at Bangor and were denied a deserved victory when, in injury time, a penalty attempt from a difficult angle by Karl Wilkinson hit the upright and was gathered and cleared by Bangor.

This was a much better performance by Carrick and, hopefully they can go one better in the home fixture against Ballyclare on Saturday 21 January and record their first victory of 2012.

The Carrick team against Bangor was:
A. McIlroy; K. James, J. Wady, A. McKinney, R. Hamilton; K. Wilkinson, G. Picken, D. McKeen(Capt), G. Baxter, D. Bowser, A. Kincaid, C. Rea, N. Marsden, R. Marsden, M. Patterson.

Other results
3rd XV lost 20-10 against Academy;
5th XV whitewashed Bangor 41 points to nil; and
Under 19s also had a convincing 22-0 win against neighbours Ballyclare.

Fixtures for 21st January are:
1st XV vs Ballyclare, home
2nd XV vs Ballyclare II, away
3rd XV vs Dromore III, away
4th XV vs Ballyclare IV, home
5th XV vs Ophir III, away
Under 19s vs Randalstown, home

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