Saturday saw Carrick into their first ever final, the West Region Shield, which saw them face old rivals Annan and all thought Carrick would benefit from a home advantage.
Alas the fine Scottish weather had other plans and after a week of torrential rain the home pitch was left unplayable, along with apparently most grounds in the West of Scotland other than Irvine’s seconds pitch, and weeks of planning for the historic day were scattered.
Last minute plans were put into place which saw a supporters’ lunch go ahead and 200 supporters in attendance, bussed to Irvine, a testament to those behind the scenes and Carrick’s community spirit.
The game kicked off in tranquil, albeit cold, conditions and Annan were up for the contest from the start. The “home” side however did not seem to be as eager and after some handling errors and frantic defence Annan exploited an overlap on the blindside with Andrew Jancey running in an early try, leaving a difficult kick which was missed.
Carrick seemed to rally at this point and after some good attacking play were awarded a penalty, converted by Kyle Johnson to bring the score to 3-5. Having clawed back some points Carrick began to play more of the rugby that saw them reach the final and had most of the possession for 15 minutes.
Some astute defence from Annan kept them from scoring however until one player received a yellow card, this was taken advantage of and Carrick’s Calum Smith pushed his way over the line for the home sides’ first try, Johnson again converted leaving the score 10-3. Some more scrappy play from both sides saw the first half end at 10-5.
After encouragement and a few stern words at half time Carrick seemed to be far more up for the challenge ahead and some fast attacking play saw them awarded a penalty after 4 minutes. Johnson again converted and the score reached 13-5.
It was Carrick’s turn to defend and some good attacking play from Annan saw the home side pressed to keep the score as it stood. After turn over ball the home side reached Annan’s 22 and were awarded a penalty, converted to bring Carrick more than two tries ahead.
A spell of fast paced attacking play saw Calum Smith score his second try of the match from a push over scrum. Due to an unclear referees signal it was up to backrow/centre/hooker Blair Jardine to elicit a belated cheer from the
The score was brought to 23-5 by Johnson’s boot. Carrick again had some good attacking play but were kept at bay for the remaining 20 minutes. However, some skilled play in the final moments saw John Fulton run in a try in the same corner as the first was scored, bringing the game full circle and to a close.
The final kick was missed but it did not matter as the game finished 28-5. Captain Greg Montgomery was presented with the club’s first ever trophy.
Those playing would like to thank all those who worked so hard to make the day such a success and to Annan for a hard fought battle. All those at Carrick wish Annan all the best for the rest of the season and those to come.