Carrick extended their unbeaten league record to seven wins from seven outings with a 21-6 victory over Coleraine at Tom Simms Memorial Park on Saturday.
With two of their other rivals in the top five of the table - Enniskillen and Randalstown - going down to narrow defeats at the hands of Academy and Larne respectively, Carrick’s lead is now in double figures over Coleraine, Enniskillen and Randalstown.
Saturday’s game against Coleraine was played in awful conditions, with a muddy pitch, gusting winds and rain throughout.
Carrick adapted better to the conditions and despite having the elements in their favour in the first half, the Bannsiders were unable to take advantage to force the home side to play from deep and trailed 5-3 at the break.
While Carrick did not always make the best use of the wind in the second half, they did enough to keep the scoreboard ticking over and their excellent defensive work confined the visitors to just one penalty goal.
Out-half Luke Whittall had a great day off the kicking tee and scored one of Carrick’s tries to give him a personal haul of 16 points.
Inside the first minute, Carrick conceded a penalty at a scrum and found themselves three points down.
Late in the half the hosts took the lead after a superbly executed catch-and-drive from a line-out just outside the Coleraine 22. culminated in number eight Ryan McGonigle getting the touch-down with Whittall coming close to putting the conversion over into the stiff breeze.
The home side played the third quarter to perfection and extended their lead through Whittall penalties in the 11th and 18th minutes of the half.
The visitors managed another penalty goal on 29 minutes, only for Carrick’s Whittall to strike back with his third penalty to make it 14-6.
Five minutes later, the out-half scored and then converted Carrick’s second try to put the game out of Coleraine’s reach at 21-6.
Ross Marsden’s side can look forward with confidence to their visit to Enniskillen on Saturday.
Carrick: A. McKinney; P. Simpson, R. Hamilton, R. Bailey, R. Crymble (N. Marsden); L. Whittal, C.Cambridge; A. Gibney, N.Hanna, J. McIlwaine (R. Williams), C. Rodgers, A. Kinkaid, A. McKeen, R. Marsden (c), R. McGonigle.