UUC v Carrick Junior cup 1/10/2011
The students travelled to Carrick with the highly impressive new facilities at Woodlawn. The weather conditions were atrocious, and the heavy rain had left the playing surface tricky at best. The University team much changed from the previous Saturday with five freshers making their university débuts. The reward for modifying their game plan at Thursdays training and their pre match preparation’s paid dividends early on after some great recycling out half Andrew Winder brought centre Jonathan Henry onto a pass and the big Ballyclaire lad on his debut made a superb break through the Carrick centre partnership, in hindsight an early off load to Winder who’s support run deserved the pass would have seen the university surly score wide right, instead the Carrick defence scrambled but with the students camped on the Carrick line they conceded a penalty which scrumhalf Lee Murphy, who kicked imperiously all afternoon, converted the penalty.
The restart superbly fielded by second row Darren Leonard set the university working tight then open patterns to create a good space on the blind side two good passes saw skipper Mike Dunlevey beat two defenders and sprinted 20yards to score in the corner, Murphy made the difficult conversion into the swirling wind to give the students a ten point lead. Carrick came back at the students hard but found no way through the D wall with the front row of Wilkinson, Eecock and O’Neill knocking men back time and time again and back row Ollie Millar and Danny Morgan winning every loose ball on the ground led Carrick to kick hard won possession away to easily, which Hall and Rowden dealt with cleanly. The rest of the first half saw the students who now had their line out with Coaches, Millar and Dunlevey doing well and scrum functioning solidly to secure primary possession. in the home teams half and pressure told on two more occasions which Lee Murphy bisected the posts with for the students to reach half time leading 19 – 0 the key to their performance to this point was the fact that no unforced errors occurred and only one penalty was conceded
During the break backrow Dan Morgan who had done little wrong was replaced by Kyle Hetherington who joined the 1stxv for the first time having missed much of the pre-season with an ankle injury, he quickly made up for lost time by imposing his presence on the blind side of the scrum.
The students playing down the slope and the elements in their favour saw play maker Andrew Winder opened the game up and bring Whitcroft and Henrys impressive handling skills to the fore giving the back three an opportunity to get ball in hand with the right winger surfing into the corner to score a deserved try ,the conversion was missed. To their credit Carrick came back at the students and forced a penalty, however the attempt drifted wide of the uprights, frustrating for the home team the University went down to their opponent’s half and a great turn over by pack leader Wilkinson drew the defence off side and Murphy slotted from 40m out. Disappointingly the home team lost their discipline somewhat and the game became very niggle based and one scuffle saw Leonard spend ten minutes in the bin surprisingly the Carrick centre did not join him for a similar indiscretion. Injury to the student’s scrumhalf saw Campbell’s 2nd sub Scott Randy take the field and his fresh legs made a positive contribution. The students came close on several occasions to score another try but Carrick’s line held to the final whistle. Result UUC 24-Carrick 0
The Students with a refreshingly honest approach to the game will want to learn from several aspects of this tough encounter, especially the importance of not letting the opposition distract them from the job in hand and that only hard work on the training ground will improve their performance