Carrickfergus RFC Notes: I XV 17 v Grosvenor RFC I XV 13 REPORT!!!!!!!!!

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In a much improved performance, the Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV beat Grosvenor by 17 points to 13 at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday 26th October.The match was played in wet and windy conditions which made expansive rugby all but impossible and both sides eventually resorted to a kicking game allied with picking and driving when in possession. The Carrick scrum was on top throughout and not only was their own line-out secure but they stole a number of Grosvenor throw-ins. The home side had the better of the first half and the early part of the second – with vital tries either side of half-time – but the visitors came back strongly with the breeze behind them in the last half-hour and the home side’s defence was tested to the limit at times. For Carrick, Curtis Rea again put in a strong performance, making a lot of ground in attack and putting in some big tackles. The props, Adam Gibney and Robbie Williams were also prominent in the loose as were Captain Andy Kincaid and open- side Chris Ferris. Luke Whitall, at out-half, kicked well out of hand and put over two excellent conversions in very difficult conditions. Aaron McKinney also helped pin the visitors back with some long range touch finds.
The early stages of the game were dominated by the conditions with both sides struggling to control the ball in the heavy rain and wet under-foot conditions. Carrick took the lead with a Luke Whitall penalty after five minutes but neither side really threatened the other’s line until the closing stages of the half. On the half-hour mark, Carrick looked to have got over from a line-out catch and drive but were penalised for an offence when the ball went to ground. Then, with three minutes of normal time left until the break, Grosvenor won a penalty on the Carrick 22 and kicked it to level the scores. However, in injury time, the home side produced the first try of the match. This followed an excellent kick by Whitall which the visitors were forced to scramble into touch. Carrick then tried a quick throw -in and knocked on but Grosvenor were pushed back at the ensuing scrum and forced to carry over. Carrick thenpushed them back on their put in, Rea drove off the back of the scrum and prop Adam Gibney gathered to dive over. Luke Whitall added the points to give Carrick a 10 points to 3 lead at the break.
Carrick increased their lead just four minutes into the second half when Andy Kincaid went over in the corner. This followed a strong Carrick scrum in the Grosvenor 22 and a rare back line move, with Luke Whitall drawing the visitors’ defence and finding Kincaid with a well-timed pass. Whitall then put over the conversion from a difficult angle and into a stiff breeze. From this point on, the visitors, making good use of the wind at their backs, dominated the game territorially. They reduced the deficit with a penalty towards the end of the third quarter and then, with more than ten minutes still to go, brought themselves within four points of Carrick with a converted try. This was also a close quarter effort with a drive off the back of a scrum five, and a good piece of work by the out-half who spun out of a tackle to go over. The try was converted and the visitors continued to play the game in the Carrick half. A couple of line-out drives which made a lot of ground caused concern to the home supporters but Carrick’s defence remained solid and they held out until the final whistle.
This was a much better, and more committed, performance from Carrick although they would still do well to try to cut down the penalty count!
They have a week off next week and then return to action at home to Strabane on 9th November.
The Carrick team against Grosvenor was:-
A. McKinney, A. Moore, J. Cullen, J. Sheriff, B. Alexander; L. Whitall, K. Topping; A. Gibney, N. Hanna, R. Williams, C. Rodgers, A. Kincaid(Capt), N. Marsden, C. Ferris, C. Rea.

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