Carrick RFC’s focus turns to cup as league fate sealed

A much-changed Carrick 1st XV' lost to Dromore by 45 points to 12 at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday (February 3), confirming they will be playing Section 2 rugby next season.
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With Grosvenor beating Cooke on Saturday, it is now impossible for Carrick to finish other than in tenth place in the league.

The score in the Dromore match on Saturday does not reflect how competitive the young Carrick side were for much of the match. After a poor first quarter, in which they conceded three tries, Carrick came back well in the second quarter, scoring two tries of their own before conceding another try in injury time at the end of the first half.

Then, for the first 20 minutes of the second half, the home side dominated territory and possession without, unfortunately, being able to add to their score before conceding three tries in the final 15 minutes as tiredness and injuries as a result of their earlier efforts took their toll.

Carrick fielded a much-changed team in their home encounter with Dromore.Carrick fielded a much-changed team in their home encounter with Dromore.
Carrick fielded a much-changed team in their home encounter with Dromore.

For Carrick there were some good individual performances. Chris Rodgers worked tirelessly in the unfamiliar role of No 8, rescuing Carrick possession on a number of occasions with the scrum under severe pressure. Alan Whitley, Nathan Greenwood, David Ferris and Matthew Johnson were effective in the loose and in defence while in the backs Conor Cambridge, Fionn McCormack, Jake Hutchinson and Captain for the day David Carse battled hard in a losing cause.

Playing into a stiff breeze, Dromore made clear their intentions to play ball in hand from the start and for almost all of the first quarter they were successful in putting Carrick under pressure, racing into a 19-0 lead by the 20th minute courtesy of a converted try in the seventh minute, a penalty try and an unconverted try, the last two thanks to their total dominance in the scrum.

Short Throw

However, as the much changed Carrick team began to develop some cohesion they fought back to get some territorial control and scored two tries of their own. The first came in the 28th minute when a short throw at the line-out was returned to hooker Alan Whitley who went over in the corner. Fionn McCormack's conversion attempt came agonisingly close but ended up just the wrong side of the upright.

Ten minutes later, the home side got their second try when Dromore lost control of the ball 40 metres out from their line and David Carse fly-hacked up to the line and won the race to touch down. Fionn McCormack added the conversion points to bring Carrick within a converted try with the score at 19-12 in the visitors' favour.

Unfortunately for the home side, Dromore managed to secure a scrum inside the Carrick 22 as the first half moved into injury time and after a series of picks and drives they got over the line. The conversion was missed but the visitors now had a more comfortable 24 points to 12 half-time lead.

Playing into the breeze in the second half, Carrick did well for 20 minutes or so to force the visitors to play much of the game inside their own half but, despite a number of line breaks, Carrick could not add to their score and the game was effectively taken from them when Dromore scored an intercept try in the 63rd minute, the successful conversion taking the score to 31-12 in the visitors' favour.

Then, as Carrick's attacking and defensive efforts began to take their toll, Dromore scored two more converted tries in the last 10 minutes to give the score-board a somewhat lop-sided look at 45-12 in the visitors' favour.

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This was a courageous effort by a much-changed Carrick side, with a number of players occupying unfamiliar roles. Carrick will meet up with the same opponents once again next Saturday when they travel to Dromore for their quarter-final game in the Junior Cup. On the evidence of last Saturday, and despite the score, the result is far from a foregone conclusion if Carrick can perform for 80 minutes as they did for at the second and third quarters of the league game.

The Carrick side which faced Dromore was: S. White; J. Hutchinson; D. Carse (capt), O. Henry (H. Norton), K. Topping; F. McCormack, C. Cambridge; N. Greenwood, A. Whitley, D. Wright (S. Mayan), D. Ferris, J. Turner, M. Johnson, D. McArthur (J. Boyce), C. Rodgers.

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