Carrick Rugby sit proudly top of BT West Division One after a 29-3 win over Cambuslang on Saturday in horrendous weather conditions.
With gales and heavy rain forecast it was somewhat of a miracle to waken on Saturday morning to find the Carrick Academy pitch in a playable condition. The only other 1st XV games played in the West, on Saturday, were at Hamilton, Newton Stewart and Stranraer; in the latter two cases, even the more remarkable as can be seen in the flooding across the Solway later on Saturday evening.
A remarkably big turnout of the Rick Faithful, considering the conditions, was treated to a near perfect half of controlled rugby as the home side battled into the wind and rain.
Within two minutes McCulloch scored in the right corner after an initial break from Montgomery from a set scrum. Johnson had little chance with the conversion.
With the lineouts a lottery and the Cambuslang scrummage creaking, the visitors had little good set piece possession to use the wind effectively but their line speed, in defence, at the breakdown was poor allowing the rampaging Raby, Young and Webster to gain yards from breakdown ball. In contrast the Carrick line speed in defence smothered any possession that the visitors had.
It was no surprise when Carrick doubled the score in the same corner as the first when Clark from the left wing scored on the right to complete a handling move that crossed the whole width of the park.
Cambuslang had a couple of chances to convert penalties but chose to kick for the corner but wind and defence at the lineout thwarted their attempts to open their account. From the third penalty, in the 15th minute, the visitors finally opted to go for goal to give a score of 10 – 3.
The Rick’s reply was immediate. After two penalties quickly taken the men in green found themselves defending in their red zone but were unable to win their scrummage. The initial thrust was right but when the direction of attack was changed Carrick had a four man overlap on the left giving Kirk the simplest of run ins. Johnson added the extra.
Carrick continued to press and within five minutes had the fourth bonus point try. Cambuslang were penalised just short of their line. Young quickly took the penalty and crashed over. With no further scoring this gave the half time score 22 – 3 in Carrick’s favour.
Whether it was lack of fitness, job complete syndrome or the Cambuslang coach’s half time talk there was almost a complete reversal of roles in the second half. With the visitors now battling the conditions their line speed in defence pressurised the visitors, their control of the ball at the breakdown and their No 8 tidying up possession at the base of the scrummage gave them far greater possession than that they had enjoyed in the first half. Unfortunately the home defence was still watertight unlike some of the footwear of their support.
The only score of the half was a strange one when Young picked up breakdown ball thirty metres out and like the Israelites when the Red Sea parted to allow their escape a similar channel appeared for Young to reach dry land behind the posts. Johnson converted.
There was another fifteen minutes of misery for both spectators and players alike as the conditions worsened before referee Mclean brought and to proceedings.
With a final score of 29 – 3 and a bonus point as well it was a contented coaching team that enjoyed their warm after match soup!
Next up for Carrick is a trip to Allan Glens on Saturday before they host Glasgow Accies in a top of the table clash on Saturday December 19 at Maybole. Both games kick off at 2pm.