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Carrick take the points at Ards

Posted On: Monday, October 10, 2016

The Maxol-Sponsored Carrick 1st XV made it two wins out of three in Division 1 of the Ulster Rugby Championship with a 17 points to 6 away victory over Ards at Hamilton Park on Saturday 8th October. The Co Down side are winless so far in the League this season and the reasons were obvious against a much changed Carrick side. Ards had great difficulty throughout hanging onto possession and scarcely threatened the visitors’ line all afternoon. Carrick, although far from guiltless in terms of handling errors, took their chances when they came, defended solidly and, in the second half, played the game mostly in their opponents’ territory thanks in part to some excellent line kicking by the half-backs Conor Cambridge and Luke Whittal. The Carrick forwards laid the foundation for the team’s success with the front row of Adam Gibney, Gareth McKeown and Paul Greenaway producing another dominant scrummaging performance aided and abetted by locks Chris Rodgers and David Ferris. Gibney again produced a high tackle count and, along with his front five colleagues, was heavily involved as a ball carrier. The Carrick Captain and No 8, Andy McKeen, had a superb game, giving the Ards back row a torrid time with his charges off the base of the scrum and rounding off his performance by scoring both of his team’s tries.

The opening exchanges were scrappy and Carrick didn’t help their cause by conceding two penalties in the first four minutes. However, their scrum dominance was obvious from early on and in the seventh minute they shoved Ards off the ball on their own put-in. Andy McKeen then made good ground with the pick-up and Ards knocked on in the tackle. From the resulting scrum five metres out, McKeen charged into the home side’s defence and, after Chris Rodgers and others had handled, was on hand to force his way over for the opening try. Luke Whittal added the conversion points to give Carrick a 7 points to nil lead. This lasted just five minutes before Ards got their first points from a penalty. However, after twenty-three minutes, Carrick restored their 7 point advantage when Luke Whittal put over a penalty from straight in front. This followed a lengthy period of pressure by the visitors following an excellent touch-find by Whittal and a Carrick line-out steal. For most of the second quarter Ards were able to obtain at least an equal share of possession but their problems with hanging onto the ball were becoming apparent and on a number of occasions they simply kicked away good possession. Carrick had a number of chances in the run up to half-time, Chris Rodgers just losing control short of the line after he had run a very good angle and Luke Whittal having his pass intercepted when he had made an incisive line break from half-way. Half-time was reached with Carrick deservedly leading by 10 points to 3.

The second half started badly for Carrick when they infringed on their own 22 and Ards converted the penalty to reduce the gap between the sides to just four points. After this though Carrick began to dominate possession and territory, aided it must be said by the inadequacies of the home side, although they could not find a way through the home side’s defence at this stage. Their only scoring chance of the third quarter came from a long range penalty effort which drifted wide. It was not until the thirty-third minute of the half that the decisive score came. At a scrum 10 metres out from the Ards line, Carrick got on a strong shove and forced the home side to carry over when they gathered the ball. At the ensuing 5-metre scum, Carrick marched Ards backwards over the line and Andy McKeen touched down. Luke Whittal put over the conversion to make the score 17 points to 6 in Carrick’s favour. This remained the situation right up to the final whistle although the visitors came close again in the final minutes when, following a period of intense Carrick pressure, winger David Moore was unlucky to come up just short as he dived for the line.

Although Ards did not provide the strongest of tests, this was a competent performance by a Carrick side missing five or six regulars. They played well to their strengths, mainly in the forwards, and used the boot when it was needed to to play in the right areas of the field. Next week will provide a sterner test when Carrick host Dromore at Tom Simms Memorial Park.

The Carrick team was:-
K. Jordan; D. Moore, P. Simpson, R. Berry, K. Topping; L. Whittal, C. Cambridge; A. Gibney, G. McKeown, P. Greenaway, C. Rodgers, D. Ferris, M. Gordon, J. Mooney, A. McKeen (Capt).

Other results
The 2nd XV were beaten by Ballyclare 2s by 21 points to 46.
The 4th XV beat Academy 3s 29 points to 5.
The youth section travelled up the M2 to play Randalstown on Saturday morning. The Under 18s won 19 – 22. The Under 16s won 20 – 29. And unfortunately the Under 14s were beaten 34 – 10.

Next week’s fixtures (Fixtures for Saturday 15th October at 2.30, unless otherwise stated)
1st XV v Dromore (h)
2nd XV v Ballynahinch 4s (a)
3rd XV v Portadown 3s (a)
4th XV v BHSFP 2s (h)
Youth Section v Ballynahinch (h), 11am
Mini rugby – Training (h), 9.30am

There will be a pre-match lunch on Saturday at 12.45pm before the1st XV v Dromore fixture. This is open to everyone at a cost of £12.50 per head with wine or just £10 without wine. If you want to attend please contact Craig Addley on (07710) 550711 as soon as possible. Thanks to pre-match sponsor John Connor of Manvik Ltd.

And we know it isn’t even Halloween yet, but we are already thinking about Boxing Day. This year we have a league match against Ballyclare and we plan to make a day of it!! We will be having a festive pre-match lunch (hopefully not turkey but we haven’t asked Craig about it yet!!) 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 went to Craig Addley (4 of spades). 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 – Discount Period
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)

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

For other payment options please click here.

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