Carrick earn bonus point with a second-half come back

The Maxol-sponsored Carrick 1st XV produced a dominant last quarter, aided by some individual brilliance, to come back from 19-3 down early in the second-half to overcome CIYMS in a 25 -19 bonus point victory at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday (November 12).

This win takes Carrick two points above CIYMS in seventh place in the League and level on points with sixth placed Enniskillen. After a first-half in which a useful looking CIYMS were the better side, Carrick eventually got into the lead at the end of normal time despite failing to capitalise on three try scoring chances earlier and took the bonus point with a try deep in injury time.

Carrick's scrum was dominant throughout and the line-out functioned well. It was failures in execution when in possession which looked as if they were going to cost the home side until they got their act together in the final quarter.

Chris Rodgers had a storming game up front as did Cormac McCracken until he had to go off injured late on while Jack Millar put in some sterling defensive work. In the backs Adam White again carried strongly and put in some thumping tackles. His brother Simon at scrum-half was lively throughout and produced a brilliant individual try in Carrick's last quarter revival. Dan Curley, David Carse and Jack Leatham also featured strongly in the second half.

Tom Simms Memorial Park. Image by Google

Carrick got off to the worst possible start, going 14-0 down after 13 minutes to a CIYMS side which was totally dominant in the early stages. They scored in the second minute from a line-out catch and drive and then extended their lead with another try which came from a patient build up through the phases following a line-out close in. For much of the remainder of the half, the visitors were in control and were denied a third try on the half hour mark only by a great defensive tackle by Jack Leatham.

Carrick did get on the score-board at the end of normal time in the first-half through an Adam White penalty to leave the visitors leading 14-3.

The hosts started the second-half brightly and could have scored when Chris Rodgers ran a great line inside the CIYMS 22 but the second row then lost the ball in contact. Then, in the 50th minute, CIYMS increased their lead when they scored in the corner after going through multiple phases following a scrum inside the Carrick 22. This try was not converted but the visitors now led 19-3 and things looked bleak for the home side. They did seem to be spurred on by this set back and created a number of chances but lost control of the ball twice when the line seemed to be beckoning.

Dominate Possession

As the game moved into the final quarter, Carrick finally got a try when Jack Leatham went through a gap to score following a series of picks and drives. The try was not converted but in the 65th minute Simon White produced a try out of nothing when he picked up from the base of a ruck on the CIYMS 10 metre line and beat three of four defenders on his way to the line. Again, the try was not converted but Carrick were now within one score of the lead and beginning to dominate possession and territory.

Just when it looked as though the visitors might hold out, and with the end of normal time approaching, another moment of excellence by a couple of Carrick players produced a try. Out-half Dan Curley broke up the left, put in a well placed chip which was gathered by David Carse who fed MIchael Black and the full-back scored near the posts. Adam White added the conversion points to give Carrick the lead for the first time.

The by now dominant Carrick side was not finished and in the seventh minute of injury time an Adam White charge took Carrick deep into the CIYMS 22 and, from a scrum awarded after a defensive knock-on, the Carrick pack drove their opponents up to the line and Ryan McGonigle picked up to score. The try was not converted but the full time whistle was blown with a bonus point victory for Carrick.

This was a great late fight back by the home side but in this weekend's return encounter with CIYMS at Belmont they will want a faster start, to exercise much better care of the ball when in possession and to be more clinical in finishing off chances. A victory will leave Carrick comfortably clear of the relegation positions with some difficult fixtures coming up in the run up to Christmas.

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The Carrick team which faced CIYMS was: M. Black; J. Hutchinson, D. Carse, A. White, J. Leatham; D. Curley, S. White; G. McKeown, A. Whitley, R. Pruess (A. Gibney), C. Rodgers, J. Mooney, J. Millar, C. McCracken (N. Gannon), R. McGonigle.