Video Highlights: Carrick Rugby I XV v BHSFP Rugby I XV:

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After a long break from rugby, the Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV started 2011 with a 22-3 away win against Belfast High School Former Pupils. In far from ideal conditions, and with the lack of match practice evident on both sides, Carrick could not convert dominance in both territory and possession in the first half into scores. Ironically, it was when the home side looked like they were getting back into the match, that Carrick finally found ways to unlock their defence. With a solid scrum, a dominant line-out, in which Curtis Rea was particularly impressive, and a rampaging display from “man of the match” Andy McKeen at No 8, there was no doubt that Carrick deserved their victory . Some of the difficulties evident in converting pressure into points can be traced to lack of match practice, a greasy ball and a very strong cross-wind.However, indiscipline at times was also a factor.
Carrick dominated territory and possession throughout a scrappy first half but the error count on both sides was high. Matters were not helped by the refereeing of the breakdown at which High School in particular were allowed to push the off-side law to the limit and beyond! The home side were not helped by losing a forward to injury half way through the first half but Carrick could not take advantage and all they had to show for their efforts by half-time was a Kris James penalty put over in the tenth minute.
Early in the second half, the referee finally went to his pocket and sent one of the High School players to the bin for a breakdown infringement. Almost immediately, Carrick took advantage when, with good quality scrummage ball, Aaron McKinney ran a great line to wrong foot the home side’s defence and score under the posts. Kris James added the points. Virtually from the kick-off, Andy McKeen ran in Carrick’s second try from 40 metres out in broken play. This try was not converted but the visitors now led by 15 points to nil. Shortly afterwards, Carrick lost a man to a red card and High School began to exert some pressure of their own. After thirteen minutes of the half they scored their only points from a penalty. They continued to press but just when they looked like they might be rewarded with a try, Carrick out-half Kris James intercepted inside his own 22 and ran in under the posts. He added the points himself. With another Carrick player off because of a yellow card, High School continued to press and only a man and ball tackle by Karl Quinn denied them on one occasion. Carrick held out, however, and emerged winners by 22 points to 3.
This was a needed win by Carrick but they will have to improve their accuracy and their discipline for the sterner League tests ahead.
The Carrick team was:
W. Anderson; D. Crothers, A. McKinney, J. Wady, K. Quinn; K. James, M. Patterson; D. McKeen, R. Higgins, P. Greenaway, S. Currie(Capt), C. Rea, N. Marsden, C. Patterson, A. McKeen.

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