Carrickfergus RFC Maxol Sponsored I XV Notes: I XV @ THEIR BEST: Report + 70 ACTION SHOTS

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The Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV produced probably their best, and certainly their most committed, display of the season in beating Enniskillen by 24 points to nil at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 24 March. The win earned them their first winning bonus point of the season.The young Carrick team tore into their opponents from the start and never allowed them to settle into any sort of rhythm.
The Carrick pack dominated the break-down and won a lot of turn-over ball, especially in the first half. This allowed the half-backs, Aaron McKinney and Glen Picken , aided by Kris James and Luke Totten, to ensure that Carrick played most of the game in their opponents’ territory.When it came to ariel ping-pong, Carrick almost always ended up with a large net gain. In the second half, Carrick’s exuberance did lead to a large penalty count against them, and a yellow card, but such was Carrick’s dominance of the line-out that Enniskillen were getting instructions from the touch-line not to kick penalties to touch! For Carrick, Ross Marsden had another excellent game at open-side, well supported by Ross Crymble, who popped up everywhere in attack, and late call-up Robbie Williams. Curtis Rea in the second row was outstanding both in line-out and loose and can be forgiven the odd indiscretion on the ground that eventually led to his yellow card. Second row partner Andy Kincaid was also prominent at ruck and maul and exerted a considerable physical presence on proceedings. Aaron McKinney, who was deservedly named as Player of the Year at the Club Dinner on Saturday night, had another very good game at first/second five-eighth; he, Kris James and Daryll Crothers switched around to good effect. Glen Picken had an excellent game at scrum-half and his line-kicking was some of the best Carrick have produced all season.
Carrick got off to a great start when, after five minutes, the quick-thinking Picken dashed over from 10 metres out from a tap penalty. This followed some good lines of running from the backs, with Steve Irwin making ground into the Enniskillen 22. The try was not converted but the pattern was now taking shape; the home side hustled the visitors whenever they were in possession, aggressive defence forced mistakes, Marsden and Co competed powerfully at the break-down and good line kicking from Picken, McKinney, James and Totten, ensured Carrick played the game in the right areas. Carrick’s second try came after twenty minutes when a long pass from Glen Picken allowed Aaron McKinney to split the Enniskillen defence and out-pace the covering defenders to score near the posts. The try was converted by Kris James. Carrick continued to put pressure on the visitors at the break-down and line-out and were rewarded with their third try after thirty-three minutes when, after good work by McKinney and Irwin, Daryll Crothers was on hand to take a pass and go over in the right-hand corner. The try was not converted but Carrick were now leading by 17 points to nil. They continued to dominate although Enniskillen had their best chance to score in the run up to half time when a catch and drive made 25 metres into the Carrick 22. A penalty to touch ensued but Enniskillen’s afternoon was summed up when Carrick made a complete mess of their line-out and forced a turn-over!
Carrick got their bonus point try more or less from the second half kick-off. They won the contest for the ball at the kick-off and a kick and follow-up by McKinney, supported by Irwin and Crothers, resulted in quick ruck ball to Carrick under the Enniskillen posts and Andy Kincaid picked up and went over. The try was converted by Glen Picken. Carrick remained in control from then on although their high penalty count- largely down to over-eagerness and a desire to control the ball- would have caused them problems against stronger opposition, especially one which could control its own line-out thow! However, the rather frantic way Carrick attacked the game in the second half had its advantages in that Enniskillen were never allowed to settle and had virtually no time on the ball to create anything. Thus, Carrick were able to play out the match without their opponents ever seriously threatening the line and ended as comfortable 24 points to nil winners.
Carrick finish their League programme away to Grosvenor on Saturday 31 March.
The Carrick team which faced Enniskillen was:
L. Totten; L. Inch, S. Irwin, A. McKinney(Capt), D. Crothers; K. James, G. Picken; A. Gibney, R. Higgins, E. McBrien, C. Rea, A. Kincaid, R. Williams, R. Marsden, R. Crymble.

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