Carrick’s local derby against Kilmarnock was a vital game for both clubs with the visitors fallen from their heady days of Premier League rugby.
Kilmarnock are now fighting relegation from West 1, Carrick trailing GHK in the hunt for the one spot promotion place.
The home side was first to trouble the scorers, a quick ruck ball on the half way line allowed Ewan Alexander to slice through a retreating Kilmarnock midfield defence, the pass to winger Clark was good and he beat the full back McWhirter’s tackle to score in the corner.
Scott Brown opened Kilmarnock’s account with a long range penalty for a ruck offence. Eleven minutes gone and any hope of the visitors making an impact disappeared when, five minutes later, Greg Andrew was yellow carded for a high tackle. Christie kicked the penalty into the corner but Raby’s lineout throw went awry, Smith tidied up and acting scrum half Speirs slipped the ball to Raby who took the low pass to score in the corner.
The rest of the half was dominated by the home pack. Outmuscled in the scrum the visitor’s eight was marched back yards but Carrick failed to take advantage of this supremacy with a number of chances going to waste. The only score was a push over try in the 34th minute giving a Carrick half time advantage of 15–3.
The bonus point fourth try was achieved within a minute of the resumption. Full back Speirs made the first break, in the right midfield, but failed to release his winger, the ball was quickly recycled, and moved left the direction of attack was again changed with Montgomery making the outside to give Clark his second score of the afternoon. McCulloch having taking over the kicking duties finally managed a conversion.
Kilmarnock replied immediately with a penalty and had their best period of the game, but it was Carrick who scored next. Smith picked up at the base of the scrummage, released scrum half Ward who passed to centre Thompson and he broke through a flat footed defence to score an unconverted try. Kilmarnock’s efforts were rewarded five minutes later with a try but the home side regained their focus and two late McCulloch tries, with one conversion, sealed the 39-11 victory.
Coach Brown was not unhappy with the result but was disappointed with the performance especially in the first half when too many scoring chances were spurned.
Next Saturday it will be another “cup tie” at Newton Stewart as Carrick try to hold on to the coattails of GHK.