Carrick Rugby Club didn’t get 2016 off to the best of starts when they lost 34-17 to Ballynahinch II in the first round of the Towns’ Cup on Saturday.
Carrick battled hard but were always struggling to get any sort of parity in possession and territory. But their early exit may be a blessing as it leaves them free to concentrate on mounting a title push in Qualifying 2.
The game started badly for Carrick when Ballynahinch broke on the counter-attack, for a converted score under the posts.
Carrick hit back three minutes later with a Neil Marsden try, converted by Luke Whittall to level the scores at 7-7.
Ballynahinch responded in the 12th minute with a second try. With the extras added, they went 14-7 up and extended their advantage five minutes later with a penalty from just outside the Carrick 22.
The visitors reduced the deficit when Whittall kicked a penalty from a difficult angle, but after the break ‘Hinch replied with a penalty of their own before snatching a third converted try to open up a 27-10 advantage.
The hosts put the game beyond Carrick’s reach with another converted try before Carrick were awarded a late penalty try.