It was a day of blizzards, gusts, hail and rain as storm Gertrude made her presence felt. Not exactly an ideal day for rugby!
Helensburgh Rugby Club made the trip down to Maybole, where the pitch was soft and the wind was gusting. However, the Carrick 1st XV persevered securing the bonus point victory and displaying good attacking rugby in poor conditions.
Helensburgh took an early lead from a penalty but Carrick’s reply was swift.
An attacking lineout opportunity saw Michael Kirk, coming in from centre, snatch the ball off debutant second row Andrew McColm denying him his first try, scoring a hardly deserved try after all the forwards hard work.
The Carrick backs with dynamic attacks provided an 18th minute try from Winger Ross McCulloch. The Carrick backs continued their barrage of the Helensburgh defence, with fullback John Fulton scoring from wide extending the lead to 17-3.
Flanker Gordon Gregor scored a fantastic break away try off the back of a lineout, going to the corner for the try bonus point, extending the lead to 22-3. Carrick concluded the first half with another try from Fulton. This was a fantastic first half performance playing into the conditions, with great defence allowing Helensburgh little opportunities.
The visitors kicked off the second half, with possession being passed over multiple times within the opening ten minutes, with no team having the upper hand.
The dominant Carrick scrum provided a good attacking platform which allowed Gregor to power over from close range for his second try of the match which was converted. This was followed by another good carry from hooker Yan Young resulting in another try just four minutes later, that was again converted by Johnston, giving Carrick a 41-3 lead. With the pitch beginning to degrade winger Connor Wyllie finished off a well worked blindside attack going 70 meters for a try in the corner, with the conversion going wide from Johnston. The soft pitch began to take effect on both sides with defences struggling to get set, leading to a very open 10 minute spell with both teams having good attacking chances. Good scrummaging from the Helensburgh pack put pressure on the Carrick scrum resulting in a turnover of which they gained a good attacking platform in Carrick’s 22.
Helensburgh scored a try after forcing a handling error, the try was unconverted and the score stood at 46-8. The game continued to be very open with both teams making the most of fractured defences, until a good counter ruck from the Carrick pack allowed Gregor to dive on a bouncing ball for his hat trick, the conversion was successful and the final score was 53-8.
Coaches Brown, Bennett and Glen were delighted with the win but more so the performance. What was also encouraging was the performances from the next generation of young Carrick players who have come through the Academy structure. Young McColm made his 1st XV debut and afterwards Mark Bennett presented him with a jersey signed by the match day squad and management. A day the boy will never forget despite his mentor Kirk stealing the ball off him in the act of scoring!