Whittall’s kicking sends Carrick top of Qualifying 2

Ross Marsden pressing forward in Carrick's game against Coleraine. INCT 51-152-GR
Ross Marsden pressing forward in Carrick's game against Coleraine. INCT 51-152-GR

Carrick 1st XV moved top of Qualifying 2 after Saturday’s hard-fought 6-3 win over Coleraine at Tom Simms Memorial Park.

It was a game in which defences were always on top and neither side produced more than half-chances of scoring tries.

Carrick finished the stronger although the visitors did have a late chance to square things with a long-range penalty but it drifted wide.

The visitors started strongly and Carrick had to resist some early pressure. Somewhat against the run of play, the home side took the lead after eight minutes when they won a penalty at a scrum on the Coleraine 22 which Luke Whittall converted.

The visitors continued to dominate territory for most of the first quarter but when Carrick got their kicking game functioning properly, they began to spend more time in Coleraine territory.

However, scoring chances were few and far between and with half-time approaching Coleraine levelled the score with a penalty awarded for taking the jumper out in the line-out.

The second half continued in much the same vein, with defences on top and both sides resorting to the boot to try to make progress.

Carrick did have two opportunitiesto take the lead with penalty kicks but both were missed, one coming back off the upright.

Carrick then began to dominate territory and possession in the final quarter but with no tangible result until, with just three minutes of normal time remaining, Whittall slotted another penalty over to give his side a three-point advantage going into injury-time.

The visitors did have a chance to level from a penalty on the 10-metre line, but the kick sailed wide leaving home side with victory in what had been a very keenly-contested match.

Carrick RFC: A. McKinney; R. Crymble, J. Cullen (c), J. Sheriff, P. Simpson; L. Whittall, K. Topping; A. Gibney, N. Hanna, M. Smiley(R. Williams), A. Kincaid, C. Rodgers, C. Rea, R. Marsden, R. McGonigle. replacement: M. Fisher.

On Saturday, Carrick take on Larne, who are unbeaten in Qualifying Three, in the return leg of the Hawkins Cup at Tom Simms Memorial Park.