Carrick Rugby Club Notes: I XV v Enniskillen Rugby I XV, A solid season so far.

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The Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV beat Enniskillen by 23 points to 18 at Woodlawn on Saturday 2 April, reversing the result from the away fixture in late February.

On a day when the wet and windy conditions were not conducive to good rugby, Carrick held on grimly when conditions were against them in the first half and eventually made their territorial dominance pay in the second. Despite being under pressure in the scrums, the forwards put in a much more committed performance this week and the home side came out on top in the battle of the break-down, winning a number of crucial turn-overs. No 8, Andy Mckeen once again carried tirelessly and tidied up at the base of the scrum. Props David McKeen and Paul Greenaway tackled strongly and also offered themselves as ball carriers. Hooker, Richard Higgins, played like an extra flanker and was prominent at the break-down through out.

Glen Picken and Aaron McKinney kicked well out of hand in the conditions and the centres, Jason Wady and David Kirkpatrick, formed a solid mid-field defensive combination. Ricky Moore , at full back, put in a solid performance and put over two crucial penalty kicks in difficult conditions in the first half which effectively won the game for Carrick.
With the elements in their favour, the visitors started strongly and took the lead with a penalty after five minutes. With Carrick largely penned in their own half, Enniskillen pressure told after seventeen minutes when they got the first try of the game; Carrick were pushed back at a 5 metre scrum and the visitors’ No 8 picked up and went over. The try was not converted. In the second quarter, thanks to some good kicking by Picken and McKinney, and poor ball control by the visitors, Carrick began to spend some time in their opponents’ half. On nineteen minutes Ricky Moore kicked a difficult penalty which had been awarded following a strong run by Andy McKeen. Then, ten minutes later, Carrick took the lead when Glen Picken went over near the posts following a number of phases in the Enniskillen 22. The attacking position had been set up by an excellent touch find from a penalty by Aaron McKinney. Ricky Moore added the conversion to give Carrick a 10 points to 8 lead. With half-time looming, and the home side down to fourteen men because of a yellow card, the visitors re-gained the lead when they out-paced the home side’s defence in a counter attack off turn-over ball to score in the corner. This try was converted but Ricky Moore narrowed the gap when, in injury time, he put over a penalty from near the touch-line and into a stiff breeze. This left the score at 15 points to 13 in Enniskillen’ favour at the break.
The second half was an error-srewn affair as the weather conditions deteriorated and handling became difficult. However, Carrick managed to keep the visitors playing inside their own half for the most part, again helped by good line kicking by the half-backs, and deservedly took the lead when Ricky Moore kicked his third penalty of the afternoon half-way through the second half. A short time later though, the visitors re-gained the lead with a penalty of their own. Carrick finally made their territorial dominance pay when Aaron McKinney went over for a superb individual try with seven minutes remaining. With quick ruck ball, he side-stepped and dummied three or four defenders on his way to the line.(How he would have explained ignoring a three man over-lap outside him had he not scored is a matter for conjecture!) Ricky Moore added the conversion points to leave Carrick the victors by 23 points to 18.
This was a satisfying victory for Carrick and now means that they have won their home fixtures against everyone but the two top teams in Section 2 of the Qualifying League, CIYMS and Donaghadee. Their win:loss ratio of roughly 50:50 is better than it looked as if it might be in the early stages of the season when, with a number of senior players retired or injured, they looked to be struggling.
The Carrick team against Enniskillen was:
R. Moore; D. Crothers, J.Wady, D. Kirkpatrick, K. Quinn; A. McKinney, G. Picken; D. McKeen, R. Higgins, P. Greenaway, S. Currie(Capt), C. Ferris, N. Marsden,C. Patterson, A. McKeen.
Also at Woodlawn, the Carrick 3rd XV lost by 35 points to 7 to a strong Dungannon IV side but the Vth XV hammered local rivals Larne by 62 points to nil.

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