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Carrick give best performance of season in the worst conditions

Posted On: Sunday, October 16, 2016

Carrick 1st XV produced their best performance of the season so far to beat Dromore by 26 points to 10 at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 15th October. This makes it three wins out of four for Carrick in the Ulster Championship, Division 1 and moves them into mid-table. With a dominant scrum throughout, Carrick always looked the better side and with a bit more patience and accuracy in attack might well have come away with a try bonus point. Apart from the odd lapse in the first half, the Carrick defence was solid when it had to be, particularly at times in the second half, and the forwards once again provided the main attacking threat. Skipper Andy McKeen had an outstanding game, both as ball carrier and in defence, and his efforts were no less effective when injury to Reece Berry forced a move into the centre. The front five once again provided a great scrum platform and were very much involved in the loose as carriers and defenders, with Adam Gibney, Paul Greenaway and Chris Rodgers, along with the back row trio of Andy McKeen, Ryan McGonigle and Mark Gordon, very much to the fore.Out-half Luke whittle, while not at his best off the kicking tee, kicked well out of hand, as did his half-back partner Conor Cambridge, and contributed his usual solid performance in defence. The defence by the backs was much better than in recent games with Jason Wady and Peter Simpson, in particular, putting in a some very solid tackles.

Carrick started strongly with several carries into the heart of the Dromore defence and, after four minutes, were rewarded with a penalty which Luke Whittal converted. The home side doubled their lead five minutes later when they Dromore were penalised at a scrum and Whittal was again on target with the kick. From the kick-off the visitors almost scored when their tight-head prop was allowed to run almost fifty metres up to the Carrick line but fortunately for the home side he lost control of the ball in the tackle. Dromore did get on the board at the end of the first quarter with a penalty awarded for a tip tackle for which a Carrick player was yellow carded. Carrick though restored their six point advantage two minutes later though when Luke Whittal put over another penalty awarded after Chris Rodgers had run a good line to make ground into the Dromore 22. The home side continued to have the better of territory and possession but it was the visitors who scored the first try. Carrick failed to deal with a high ball, Dromore won possession and then a penalty which they put into touch five metres out; from the line-out they went through a couple of phases before their scrum-half darted over for the try. This was converted to give the visitors the lead by 10 points to 9. Five minutes later the home side had a chance to regain the lead with a penalty awarded at the break-down after a good run into the 22 by winger Kenny Topping but, on this occasion, Luke Whittal was off target. In the run-up to half-time they had another chance in an attack involving both backs and forwards but lost control of the ball short of the line. Thus, half-time was reached with Dromore leading by 10 points to 9.

The home team began the second half as they had the first, putting the Dromore defence under pressure, but this time spilled the ball on the line. However, they were not to be denied and regained the lead with a try seven minutes into the half. Reece Berry broke a couple of tackles and, from the break-down, Andy McKeen charged up towards the line before feeding Ryan McGonigle who went over. The try was not converted but Carrick now led by 14 points to 10. The home side continued to dominate possession and for most of the third quarter of the game the visitors found it difficult to get out of their own half. As the game moved into the final quarter, Carrick extended their lead with a penalty try awarded when Dromore were shoved off the ball on their own put-in at a 5-metre scrum and then infringed as Carrick were about to score a push-over try. This try was converted to give Carrick a 21 points to 10 lead. The second Carrick try seemed to sting Dromore into action and the kick-off was followed by a long period of pressure by the visitorsbut the home side’s defence held firm and the ball was eventually turned over. The visitors though kept coming back and another attack was foiled only when they coughed up the ball under pressure from Carrick scrum-half Conor Cambridge at the base of a ruck. Dromore’s indiscipline cost them with five or so minutes remaining when they were marched back 20 metres at a penalty for two acts of dissent and Luke Whittal found a fine touch in the Dromore 22. From the line-out, Carrick moved the ball left and strong runs by Adam Gibney and Mark Gordon sucked in Dromore defenders allowing Chris Rodgers to force his way over for a deserved try. This was not converted but Carrick now led by 26 points to 10, a lead which they held until the final whistle despite another period of pressure by the visitors which ended when they turned over the ball and Conor Cambridge put in a good clearance kick as the last act of the match.

This was a very much improved performance by Carrick with the defensive organisation- apart from a couple of first half lapses – was especially impressive. Next week, Carrick travel to Enniskillen for what will undoubtedly be a very difficult encounter but a repeat of this Saturday’s performance will make them difficult for anyone to beat

The Carrick team which played Dromore was:-
S. Wallace; K. Topping, R. Berry (J. Mooney), J. Wady, P. Simpson; L. Whittal, C. Cambridge; A. Gibney, G. McKeown, P. Greenaway (J. McIlwaine), C. Rodgers, D. Ferris, M. Gordon, R. McGonigle, A. McKeen (Capt).

Other results
Unfortunately it wasn’t so positive for the other senior sides.
The 2nd XV were beaten by Hinch 4s by 31 points to 6.
The 3rd XV lost 56-0 against Portadown 3s.
The 4th XV lost 10-16 against BHSFP 2s.

The youth section hosted Ballynahinch on Saturday morning. The Under 18s lost by the narrowest of margins, 12-13 and the Under 14s also lost 0-62. The Under 16s continued their excellent season with a 36-0 victory.
Unfortunately our Under 16s scrum half, Robert McKee, sustained a dislocated wrist during this match. Thankfully he was released from hospital later on Saturday and we wish him the best for a speedy recovery.

Next week’s fixtures (Fixtures for Saturday 22nd October at 2.30, unless otherwise stated)
1st XV v Enniskillen (a)
2nd XV v Dungannon 2s (a)
3rd XV – No match
4th XV v Ballymoney 4s (h)
Youth Section v Malone (a), 11am
Mini rugby v Randalstown (h), 9.30am

Another reminder that on Boxing Day we have a league match against Ballyclare and we plan to make a day of it!! We will be having a pre-match lunch followed by live entertainment from 4pm to 7pm. We want to firm up numbers for this ASAP, so please contact Craig on (07710) 550711 if you are interested.

Find the Joker
This week’s Find the Joker prize (£20) went to Ian Penney. The Jackpot was not won and rolls over to next Sunday. Don’t forget to buy your tickets to be in with a chance of winning.

Subscriptions – Only two weeks left
Thanks to all who have already their subscription for this year. If you haven’t paid yet, just a reminder that you need to do so by the end of October if you want to avail of the discounted rates (a saving of up to £25). Unpaid membership cards will be deactivated on 1st November.

You can pay online at www.carrickrfc.co.uk/about/membership/

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