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Battling Carrick beaten by Instonians

Posted On: Monday, December 5, 2016

The Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV continued their run of defeats in hard-fought encounters, losing by 10 points to 3 to Instonians at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 3rd December. Once again, this was a match with defences very much on top, the only try of the game coming from an Instonians line-out catch and drive. While the visitors had the better of territory and possession in the first half and deserved their 10 points to nil lead at the break, Carrick, aided by a scrum which became more dominant as the game went on, had the better of things in the last twenty-five minutes or so. However, they could not break down the solid Instonians defence and when they did make line breaks could not retain possession for long enough to build a try-scoring opportunity. For Carrick, Andy McKeen was again prominent as a ball-carrier, John McDowell was strong at the break-down and Adam Boyce has a very good game in the centre both in defence and attack. David McKeen, when he came on, did a great job at loose head against some clearly illegal Instonians scrummaging.

After a scrappy opening few minutes, the visitors took the lead in the sixth minute with a line-out catch and drive leading to what was to be the only try of the game. This followed a penalty which they put into touch five meters out to give them the attacking opportunity. The try was converted to give the visitors a 7 points to nil lead. For the remainder of the first quarter and into the second, Instonians had the better of territory and possession but never really looked like breaching a very solid Carrick defence. The home side had their best chance in the twenty-fifth minute when Chris Rodgers and Ryan McGonigle made ground up to the Instonians 22 but the ball was lost forward in the tackle. Instonians then butchered a golden opportunity when, for once, the Carrick defence faltered and their opponents set up an attacking position close to the line but the visitors then kicked possession away when they should have gone through the phases. Then it was Carrick’s turn to spurn a try-scoring chance. Conor Cambridge made an incisive break off a well-timed pass from Andy McKeen from the base of a scrum and had the support been closer a try could have resulted but, when Cambridge was tackled close to the line, the re-cycled ball was moved left where most of the attackers were forwards and the move ended in a knock-on. Despite a great Carrick shove at the resulting scrum, the visitors somehow managed to retain possession and cleared their lines. With just a few minutes of the half remaining Instonians increased their lead when they converted a penalty from straight in front. This opportunity came when one of their centres made a rare line-break following a Carrick over-throw at a line-out and the home side were penalised at the break-down. The visitors thus went into half-time with a 10 points to nil lead.

In the early stages of the second half Instonians continued to have the better of possession but were able to do little with it even when Carrick were reduced to fourteen men because of a yellow card. Indeed, from this point on, it was the home team who began to take a degree of control of the match with their scrum now completely on top. Unfortunately they simply could not break down the visitors’ defence. At the end of the third quarter, Carrick had an opportunity when, following a strong charge by Chris Rodgers, Ryan Bailey made a break and gave Adam Boyce space to make ground into the Instonians 22 but once again the re-cycled possession was turned over. The home side eventually got points on the board with about fifteen minutes remaining when they won a penalty following a lengthy period of possession inside the Instonians half and Luke Whittal kicked the goal to bring Carrick into losing bonus point range. For the remainder of the match, Carrick continued to enjoy most of the possession but could not put together a really threatening attack,most moves ending with the ball either lost forward or turned over and the game ended with Instonians victorious by 10 points to 3.

While this was another disappointing afternoon for the young Carrick side, one thing is certain; they look as if they belong in Division 1 of the Ulster Championship. Apart from the game against Portadown early in the season, they have not been overwhelmed by anyone and indeed managed to dominate the game at some point against Omagh, Enniskillen and Instonians. With things getting very tight at the top and bottom of the Table – although hapless Ards remain in bottom spot – they will need to start turning possession into points and pick up a few more victories to be absolutely sure of avoiding any relegation problems. It will not be easy – their next two opponents on 17th and 26th December are Cooke who beat Enniskillen on Saturday and Ballyclare who are involved in the dog-fight at the top of the Table.

The Carrick team which faced Instonians was:_
K. Topping; R. Crymble, A. Boyce, R. Bailey, P. Simpson; L. Whittal, C. Cambridge; A. Gibney ( D. McKeen), R. Higgins, J. McIlwaine, C. Rodgers, D. Ferris (M. Gordon), R. Mcgonigle, J. McDowell, A. McKeen(Capt)

Carrick 2nd XV
The 2nd XV travelled to Magherafelt on Saturday and, in a high scoring game, they secured a 25-43, in spite of receiving two yellow cards in first 7 minutes. Nathan Greenwood also sustained a serious thumb injury and is currently awaiting surgery in hospital. All his teams mates and coaches wish him a speedy recovery.

Tries came from Dave Lewis, Gareth McKeown, Stu Currie, Marc Ellison, Kyle Jordan, Daryl Smith and Fionn McCormack. Fionn also had a successful afternoon of goal-kicking.

The 4th XV had a 8 – 21 victory against PSNI 3s.

Next week’s fixtures (Fixtures for Saturday 10th December at 2.30, unless otherwise stated)
1st XV – No match
2nd XV v Ballyclare 2s (a)
3rd XV v Armagh 3s (h)
4th XV – No match
Ladies – TBC
Youth Section v Ballyclare (h), 11am
Mini rugby v Academy (h), 9.30am

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