1st XV complete double over UUC
Posted On: Monday, February 2, 2015
The Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV made hard work of beating a spirited University of Ulster, Coleraine(UUC) side at the University Grounds on Saturday 31 January having to battle all the way before emerging victors by 24 points to 17 . This didn’t feel like a second place versus second to bottom fixture with the students determined to run the ball at every opportunity and putting Carrick under pressure in the scrum in the first half and in the line-out throughout. The match was played in very cold and windy conditions, with a strong breeze blowing straight across the pitch, and with the odd hail shower for good measure. Both sides struggled to master the art of kicking out of hand in the conditions and there were a lot of handling errors, particularly from Carrick. Some of the visitors’ decision making was poor and one decision in the second half to run a penalty rather than go for goal could have been costly.
This was Carrick’s first match in three weeks and, with some changes to personnel, it was perhaps not surprising that the visitors did not approach the sort of performance that gave them a 55 points to nil victory over UUC at home in early October. That said, UUC did not loook like a second from bottom of the League side; they have a very solid scrum, a number of dangerous runners and played with a high degree of committment. In the end, Carrick were victorious because they managed to gain a degree of control in the second half and forced UUC to play inside their own half for long periods. That said, it was UUC who were doing the pressing in the closing minutes, aided by a yellow card which left Carrick with fourteen men for the last five or six minutes.
For Carrick, Curtis Rea did a good job at No 8, especially in ensuring Carrick kept the ball when their scrum was under pressure in the first half. Adam Gibney again put in a lot of hard work in the loose, Ross Crymble carried well in running back kicks while Andy Kinkaid can’t seem to stop scoring tries; if the backs don’t up their game, a second row forward is going to end up as top try scorer for the season! Shane Kelly ,on debut at scrum-half ,showed promise with his darting runs from the base of scum and ruck while Johnny Cullen, Johnny Sheriff and Jason Wady all produced good running lines when it mattered in the second half.
The home side started strongly and were on top in the scrum early on. They deservedly took the lead after seven minutes when they moved the ball wide from a scrum going forward, then came back inside, re-cycled and went over in the corner. Their kicker put over an excellent conversion in the conditions to give them a 7 points to nil lead. However, on fielding Carrick’s kick-off, they put the ball directly into touch from outside their own 22 and from the ensuing line out were marched back to their own line by a suberb Carrick driving maul off the back of which Neil Hanna went over for a try. This was not converted but Carrick gained the lead ten minutes later when Luke Totten put over a penalty kick. For the rest of the half, UUC continued to dominate in the scrum and to disrupt the Carrick line- out but their skill did not match their ambition in trying to run the ball in the difficult conditions and they could not make in-roads against a solid Carrick defence. The latter, when they had the ball, were making too many handling errors and the quality of some of the passing was poor.The first half ended with Carrick leading by 8 points to 7.
UUC started the second half strongly, as they had the first, and took the lead two miinutes in when they went over after picking and driving following a penalty kick to touch 10 metres out from the Carrick line. Again, the try was converted from a difficult angle to give the home side the lead by 14 points to 8. After this though Carrick began to take some measure of control, having sorted out their scrum problems and begining to come to terms with the stiff breeze in their line kicking. With eight minutes of the half gone, Carrick ran the ball off the back of a solid scrum and a grest line from Johnny Sheriff left Andy Kinkaid in possession on the UUC 22 with only a couple of men between him and the line and the big second row burst through two tackles to score. The try was not converted, leaving UUC with a one point lead but Luke Totten kicked Carrick into the lead just two minutes later with a penalty kick from just inside the UUC 10 metre line. He extended the visitors’ lead five minutes later with another penalty awarded following good runs by Ross Crymble and Shane Kelly.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Johnny Cullen made a superb break in mid-field and was pulled down after he put in a grubber kick; inexpicably, Carrick spurned the offer of a kick at goal right in front of the posts- which would have put them eight points clear – and ran the penalty and promptly turned the ball over. Fortunately for Carrick, they regained possession and after going through about ten phases moved the ball wide with UUC running out of defenders and Jason Wady went over in the corner. The try was not converted but Carrick now led by 24 points to 14. The home side came back though and out themselves into a losing bonus point position with a penalty with eight minutes remaining. Arguably, they then finished the stronger of the two sides, aided by a Carrick player being yellow carded with five minutes remaining, but could not get the field position to mount a serious challenge. Carrick were probably the more relieved when the referee blew for time leaving them trhe winners by 24 points to 17.
Next week Carrick face Lisburn at Tom Simms Memorial Park. They will need to improve on Saturday’s performance if they are going to complete the double over Lisburn.
The Carrick team against UUC was:-
J. Wady; K. Jordan, J. Cullen(Capt), J. Sheriff, P. Simpson; L. Totten, S. Kelly; A. Gibney, N. Hanna, R. Williams, A. Kinkaid, C. Rodgers, N. Greenwood, R. Crymble, C. Rea. Subs- R. McGonigle and K. Topping.