RUGBY REVIEW: Carrick stay out in front in title race

Luke Whitall in action for Carrick against Enniskillen. INCT 12-203-AM
Luke Whitall in action for Carrick against Enniskillen. INCT 12-203-AM

Carrick maintained their position at the top of Section 2 of the Kukri Qualifying League with a hard-fought 9-8 victory over Enniskillen at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday.

However, their lead in the league has been cut to two points, with rivals Coleraine earning a bonus point after inflicting a heavy defeat on Donaghadee.

As in their previous match against Randalstown, it was the Carrick defence, allied on this occasion to some excellent goal-kicking by out-half Luke Whitall, which earned them victory.

The visitors had the dominant scrum for much of the match, shoving Carrick off the ball on a number of occasions and had the lion’s share of possession and territory. However, Carrick competed fiercely at the break-down, and managed to disrupt the Enniskillen line-out on three or four occasions.

The home side’s work at the break-down meant the penalty count went against Enniskillen, and this was a major factor in their inability to turn their dominance of possession into points.

Centre Reece Hamilton was outstanding in defence, and wing Peter Simpson also tackled strongly, as did props Adam Gibney and Johnny McIlwaine, and both were extremely effective at the breakdown.

Towns’ Cup finalists Enniskillen started well and had the home side under pressure in the opening minutes, shoving them off the ball at the first scrum and then winning a penalty at a scrum just inside the Carrick 22, which they converted to take an early lead.

Carrick hit back with a penalty of their own after 12 minutes and Whitall put over an excellent kick from just inside the Enniskillen 10-metre line to level the scores.

The hosts took the lead at the end of the first quarter with another Whitall penalty.

The visitors missed with a penalty attempt after 25 minutes and in the 37th minute they finally got their reward with an excellent try to go 8-6 up.

However, the home side finally regained the lead around the 60-minute mark when Whitall kicked his third penalty of the afternoon.

Carrick: A. McKinney; P. Simpson, R. Bailey, R. Hamilton, K. Jordan; L. Whittal, M. Black(C. Rodgers); A. Gibney, N. Hanna (D. McKeen), J. McIlwaine, A. Kinkaid, K. McNeil, A. McKeen, N. Marsden, R. McGonigle (Capt).