A battling second half performance

The home of Drumpellier Cricket Club is not the easiest of places to go to play the Waysiders.

The last time Carrick visited it was an enormous battle in the mud when Carrick sneaked a victory with the last kick of the game.

Fortunately the underfoot conditions on Saturday were dry which should have suited Carrick’s more expansive game. Captain Raby won the toss and chose to play with the stiff breeze and against the slope.

Carrick started brightly and within two minutes was ahead when Kyle Johnson converted a simple penalty when a home side forward strayed offside.

The visitors continued to press home their advantage and could have gone further ahead but twice down the right wing scoring chances were spurned; one from good scrambled defence and the other when the referee Mathias adjudged the final scoring pass to be forward.

Waysiders pack was causing a few awkward moments for the Carrick eight in the set scrums. Gaining in confidence the home eight combining with their inside backs continued to drive holes through the Carrick defence and were rewarded for their efforts when Carrick were penalised for killing the ball in front of the posts.

The visitors responded immediately with the kickoff going deep into the home twenty two.

The follow up chase was good which forced a poor clearance attempt. McCulloch fielded on the right wing, his diagonal run infield and pass found full back Wyllie and his pass to left winger Clarke gave the flying winger just enough space to streak through the narrowest of gaps to score an unconverted try.

Seventeen minutes gone and with an 8 3 lead, the wind at their backs, pace in abundance out wide Carrick used brawn rather than brain power and came off second best to an ever threatening home eight.

The game now being played in the Carrick twenty two it was the simplest of tries to give Waysiders the lead. From a lineout five metres out a catch and drive and with the conversion the visitors were two points down.

On the half hour mark Johnson restored Carrick’s lead with a long range penalty.

With minutes of the half left a cross field kick from Johnson sent Clark chasing after the ball but his attempt to collect the ball from out of play caused him and his opposite number to disagree and both received their marching orders.

Coach Brown, at half time, introduced Grant Ward at nine with Montgomery moved to right wing/full back and with Wyllie playing left wing full back. Then a few choice words of what was required of his players and how the game was to be played.

The half time changes seemed to do the trick.

The forwards played closer to the breakdown, possession was retained, the back row led by Pollock was immense and was pressurising the home half backs such that their attempts to use the wind found Montgomery whose positioning was uncanny and his ability to counterattack was always threatening.

The Rick support was still nervous as a one point lead playing into a wind was not where they wanted to be and there was the odd flutter when the home side broke out of defence.

It was not until the last quarter of the match that the visitors strangle hold on the game bore fruit.

The Carrick pack now having the upper hand drove the home eight off the ball in their own twenty two, Gregor picked up the loose ball, the rest of the Carrick forwards drove in and when the ball was released Ward drifted through the disintegrating defence. Johnson converted to give the visitors an eight point lead.

From the kick off the Carrick forwards were penalised at the ruck and the Rick support groaned again. Now only five points up and with ten minutes left was it to be a nailbiter but the visitors kept their composure and Raby strolled over for a late try.