CARRICK Rugby Club’s 1st XV could not complete the double over Limavady, as they lost 16-6 at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday.
The visitors deserved their victory because they displayed more urgency in all aspects of the game and took their chances when they came.
In short, they appeared to want the win more than Carrick. Indeed, Carrick dominated possession and territory in the final quarter, as against Randalstown the previous week, but again could not conjure up a try. They were chasing at least a losing bonus-point, but simply could not turn possession and field position into points.
The scrum was fairly evenly contested between the sides, but Limavady had the better of the line-out and were more committed at the break-down.
After an even first 10 minutes, it was the visitors who scored first following a line-out in the Carrick 22. They drove and quickly re-cycled the ball for their out-half to put in a beautifully weighted kick for their right-winger who spun out of a tackle for an uncoverted score.
Both sides were finding it difficult in the wet conitions, but Limavady showed a greater ability to hang on to possession and deservedly increased their lead with a penalty after 30 minutes.
This seemed to spur Carrick into action and they came very close when Karl Love made a break which took him up to the line. Limavady’s out-half earned a yellow card for an early tackle on the intended recipient of Love’s pass. It could be argued that a penalty-try should have been awarded but Carrick had to be content with a penalty which Johnny Sheriff duly converted.
In injury-time, Sheriff added another penalty to make the half-time score 8-6 in Limavady’s favour.
The visitors got the perfect start to the second half when they put a penalty into touch close to the Carrick line, caught and drove at the line-out and scored when the ball carrier peeled off and dived over. Again, the try was not converted.
Out-half Sheriff almost hit back when he made a neat break and raced into the Limavady 22 but the support could not get to him in time. Carrick did manage to hang onto the ball but, in an act which summed up their problems in attack, tried to force the issue with a grubber kick which merely handed the ball to their opponents.
By this stage, Carrick probably had more opportunities to create scoring chances than their opponents, but it was Limavady who went further ahead when their out-half put over a drop-goal 22 minutes into the second half. From then on, Carrick were, more or less, in control of territory and possession but could not use their advantage to score. On one occasion they squandered a good chance when they were four-on-two inside the Limavady 22.
In the dying minutes, Carrick did have to face one last Limavady onslaught but the defence held up well.
Carrick have a week off before they travel to Belmont to tackle Grosvenor on February 9. They will certainly need to be sharper if they are to gain revenge for the 3-0 defeat to Grosvenor in early November.
Carrick: A. McKinney (c); A. Moore, J. Anderson, K. Love, A. McIlroy; J. Sheriff, K. Topping; E. Peacock, N. Hanna, R. Williams, A. Kincaid, C. Rogers, C. Rea, R. Marsden, M. Patterson.
Fixture (Saturday, February 2): Coleraine II v Carrick II.