Carrick travelled north to Aberdeenshire, last Saturday, to take on the Caledonian League 1 side, Ellon.
The Maybole side had hoped to take to take a second XV as well but injuries and work commitments meant that only 28 souls of players, coaches and spectators finally made the trip. It was a voyage of discovery for Carrick as Ellon was once a National League 3 side but have dropped a level into their top Regional League.
The home side won the toss and chose to play with the strong breeze behind them and it needed some good defensive work from the visitors to contain the rumbustious efforts of Ellon’s strong running centres and their powerful number eight.
It was the Rick who opened the scoring, however, when forwards and backs combined to release right winger, Russ McCulloch, who swept past his opposition winger and sped the forty metres to the corner to score the first of his three tries.
Carrick’s next score was a little fortunate, but no less spectacular when Lewis Clark intercepted a speculative pass on his own ten metre line and the high stepping winger took off Ferrari-like to score under the posts. Connor Wyllie added the extra points
Ellon opened their account on the 20 minute mark when persistent forward pressure sucked in the visitor’s defence allowing the home side’s outside centre to crash over. Worse was to follow for the Rick as Ellon attacked from the kick off, moved the ball left and when the attack was switched right the rick defence was short and the right winger rounded Clark to produce a well worked converted try.
An evenly contested first half ended with a 12 to 10 point scoreline and Coach Brown was hopeful that with the breeze now behind his charges would go on to win with some panache. He was not to be disappointed as an early score from McCulloch who had supported the move from his right wing to score on the left. Wyllie converted. The same man ten minutes later finished off a forward attack when he slipped through a disintegrating Ellon defence but could only hit the post with his conversion attempt.
With a 14 point lead and the home side tiring Carrick had a period of sloppy play. A speculative Ellon kick into the Carrick twenty two was not cleared an from the resulting scrummage poor back row defence did not prevent a simple number eight pick up and score.
McCulloch settled any nerves that the far travelled support may have had as he completed his hatrick with a score under the posts. Clark added the conversion.
This was a pre-season hatrick of friendly wins for the Maybole side. Coach Brown will have been happy with the 31 15 win but will be looking for a bit more grunt from some of his big forwards
Next Saturday the club travel to Edinburgh to play Edinburgh North in a double header with firsts and seconds and this will be the last chance for contenders to claim a place for opening league fixture against Stewartry the following Saturday.