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Carrick edge Randalstown

Posted On: Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV travelled to Randalstown on Saturday 25th October and came away with a 23 points to 3 win. Carrick spent the game battling the wet and windy conditions as much as they did the  opposition. Even so, with a bit more patience and better ball control they could have scored twice as many points. With a totally dominant scrum and a smoothly functioning line-out, Carrick had a lot of possession and, apart from a spell in the middle of the first half, controlled territory, forcing Randalstown to try to attack from deep.Nevertheless, with a catalogue of sloppy hamdling, even allowing for the conditions, and, at times, poor decision making, it took Carrick until the half-way point of the second half to make the game safe.

For Carrick, most of the credit must go to the pack, especially the front row of Adam Gibney, Neil Hanna and Michael Smiley who marched their opponents backwards at nearly all of the fairly frequent scrums. Curtis Rea and Chris Rodgers provided a supply of good ball from the line-out and Rea, Andy Kincaid, Ryan McGonigle amd Ross Marsden were prominent in the loose with the latter creating a number of turn-overs. Luke Whitall kicked well in the difficult conditions, with a strong breeze angling across the pitch and full-back Michael Gilmore made a number of line breaks which in other conditions might well have led to tries.

Carrick started strongly and had their opponents penned in and around their 22 for most of the first fifteen  minutes. However, poor handling and a lack of patience at times meant that all they had to show for it was a Luke Whitall penalty on the fifteen minute mark. The home side began to claw their way back into the game and deservedly drew level with a long range penalty kick after twenty-five minutes. However,with their scrum under terrible pressure and Carrick stealing a couple of their line-outs, they struggled to put any attacking phases together. Towards the end of the first half, Carrick began to re-assert their territorial dominance and two more Luke Whittall penalties- after thirty-five minutes and three minutes into injury time- gave them a 9 points to 6 half-time lead.

Despite the wind now favouring Randalstown, Carrick forced them to play virtually all of the second half in their own territory. However, a string of errors meant that Carrick did not turn their dominance into points  until half-way through the second half.

The try that had eluded them all game finally came twenty-one minutes into the  half when, from turn-over ball, the forwards drove up to the Randalstown line and Curtis Rea forced his way over. Luke Whittall added the conversion points to give the visitors a 16 points to 3 lead. Then , ten minutes later, Carrick sealed the win when Andy Kincaid ran onto a pass five metres out from the Randalstown line to go over. From a difficult angle, and with the wind against him, Luke Whittall put over a fine conversion to give Carrick a 23 points to 3 lead which they comforably held until the final whistle.

Next Saturday, Carrick are at home at Tom Simms Memorial Park to Enniskillen and they will be hoping for a more accurate performance to make it four League wins out of five and consolidate their position towards the top of the Section 2  table.

The Carrick team against Randalstown was:-
M. Gilmore; N.Hastings, J. Cullen(Capt), J. Sheriff, P. Simpson; L. Whittall, A. McKinney; A. Gibney, N. Hanna(R.Williams), M. Smiley, A.Kincaid, C. Rodgers, C.Rea, R. Marsden, R. McGonigle(R. Crymble).

* Photography by Dave Pettard at DGP Photography. Permission seeked.

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