Carrick continues to challenge for league honours
Posted On: Monday, February 9, 2015
The Maxol sponsored Carrick 1st XV hosted Lisburn RFC on Saturday at the Tom Simms Memorial Ground in perfect rugby playing conditions. Lisburn had nothing to loose at this fixture and were prepared to throw everything into the game using their heavy pack to upset the set scrums and frustrate the Carrick attacking team preventing a bonus point win.
Carrick started the game attacking the Lisburn team from the off. This first line out was dominated by Andrew Kinkaid securing the ball at the back of the line to catch Lisburn off side by coming round the ensuing maul. Within the first 3 minutes Luke Whittal took his chance to put Carrick ahead but sent his penalty wayward. From the Lisburn start Carrick Captain Jonny Cullen kicked the ball through the Lisburn backs and followed through but Lisburn did not roll away from the tackle giving Luke Whittle his second attempt at a penalty which he duly took putting Carrick into a 3 point lead. At this point Lisburn started to pressure the Carrick defence forcing penalties which were used to gain ground near to the Carrick line. Carrick’s defensive line out hustled Lisburn into being caught offside and easing the pressure back into the Lisburn half. The Carrick line out was tactically overthrown for scrum half Shane Kelly to collect and feed the backs offering Jonny Sherriff the opportunity to show his strength and balance by running through two tackles to score in the corner on the 10 minute point. Luke Whittal did not convert from this angle leaving the score at 8 points to nil.
Although the restart resulted in a Lisburn scrum and Carrick penalised for collapsing the scrum Lisburn sought to gain ground with a line out in Carrick’s 22. Of course Lisburn didn’t expect the dexterity of Curtis Rea who glided above the Lisburn line to cleanly steal the ball giving the opportunity for Carrick to clear their lines by running the ball through the backs offering Peter Simpson a run for the line only to be stopped by the referee for an unseen crossing somewhere in the backs. Through the various stages of play leading to half time Carrick scrum found their footing difficult giving at times the momentum to the much heavier Lisburn pack but the Carrick backs defended any turnover ball well keeping out any attempt of attack from Lisburn. A number of infringements at the set scrum conceded by both teams interrupted any flow but it was clear that Carrick defence stood strong denying any real attack from Lisburn. The score stayed at 8 points to nil on the blow of the half time whistle.
From the Carrick restart Lisburn continued to show strength and determination to get a score by pushing Carrick back into their own half through kicking up field. From resulting scrums Lisburn started to put phases together until Ross Marsden came off the defence line at a ruck to crunch tackle the Lisburn centre causing the centre to knock the ball on in his daze. A further Lisburn infringement gave Luke Whittle the opportunity to send the ball back into the Lisburn half. At this turning point Carrick started to use their dominant backs and after a number of phases. From the line out the ball was swung along the backs to the wing but the ref needed to stop play due to the injured Luke Whittle on the ground. The ref resumed play with Luke Whittal substituted for Kenny Topping who moved into scrum half allowing the versatile Shane Kelly to move to out half. The resulting scrum was won by Lisburn but a wayward pass gave possession back to Carrick from the line out. Carrick produced 6 phases but were unfortunate to be caught and held up by Lisburn. The scrum offered Lisburn a chance to run the ball in their hands but Robbie Williams who had come on to cover back row for Ross Crymble made a covering tackle to force Lisburn to knock the ball on. From the scrum Carrick moved the ball to Jonny Sherriff who sensibly kicked to touch deep into the Lisburn 22. Carrick had started to pick up the pace by Kenny Topping providing quick ball to his new playing partner Shane Kelly offering more phases. With Carrick now on the attack Shane Kelly spotted Aaron McKinney wide and threw a perfect balanced long pass offering Aaron to do what he does best by using his skill and balance to step inside the defenders and score a well deserved try. Jonny Sherriff stood up to convert the score giving Carrick a 15 point to nil score at the 60 minute point.
The restart resulted in a scrum to Lisburn but Carrick with renewed drive disrupted the scrum with a second drive, spoiling the Lisburn ball. The next five minutes of play became scrappy with mistakes by both teams causing frustration. During the piece of scrappy play Jonny Sherriff kept his wits and kicked the loose ball through the Lisburn backs chasing through to collect and score an unconverted try on the 65th minute moving on the score to 20 points to nil. The restart once again took Lisburn into the Carrick 22 where a number of Carrick infringements gave Lisburn the opportunity to re-set a number of scrums on the 10 metre line. On the third infringement the ref gave a yellow card to Carrick for the number of front row infringements and Lisburn once again took the option of a scrum. Robbie Williams moved up to front row and this time it was the Lisburn prop who was deemed to be driving upwards giving a penalty to Carrick and a chance to clear the lines. Lisburn now pushed to get the illusive points but the Carrick defence continued to stand strong and on occasions turned into an attack to look for the bonus point. This of course caused frustration and led to a number of infringements by both teams. On the final whistle Carrick secured another double and kept a very clean score sheet denying Lisburn of a loser’s bonus point.
The Club Captain – Jonny Cullen praised his players in their defensive role and congratulated them on achieving 10 consecutive wins but recognises the challenges for next week’s quarter final Town’s Cup game where the continued commitment of players to training will lay down the game plan to take them through to the semi-finals.
Ballymoney 3 XV – 5 Carrick 3rd XV – 43
The Youth section went up the M2 to Randalstown and all teams came away with wins. Under 18s won 15-40. The Under 16s won 15-17. The Under 14s won 10-21.
Next week’s fixtures (Fixtures for Saturday 14th February at 2.30, unless otherwise stated)
1st XV v Donaghadee (a), Towns Cup Quarter Final