BT West One
SATURDAY saw Garnock host high-flying Carrick at Lochshore.
The South Ayrshire side are third position in the league and recently won the Regional Shield.
The game kicked-off ion a pitch which belied the amount of rain that had fallen in the past few weeks.
Carrick made the initial thrust into the Garnock half and their forwards launched several attacks towards thetry line. Only some determined tackling and the boot of Rory Walker kept them at bay.
It wasn’t until seven minutes that the hosts were seen as an attacking force when the Garnock back line ran the ball through several pairs of hands to release Fraser Brockett. However the Carrick defence dealt with the threat.
In 15 minutes Carrick were awarded a penalty when Garnock were caught offside. From 30 metres and in front of the posts Carrick’s stand off Kyle Johnson, converted to make it 3-0.
For the next 10 minutes both sides were intent in running the ball at every opportunity. The tackling from both sides was precise and in 26 minutes, referee Stevens awarded Carrick a penalty 35 metres out in the centre of the field of play with Johnson converting to make it 6-0.
At this point Garnock were matching Carrick in all phases of the game and playing some of their best rugby of the season bringing young wingers Brockett and Kier Walker into the game.
In 36t inutes Carrick scored the first try when Michael Kirk rounded of the best move of the game so far to score close to the posts. Johnson converted and it was 13-0 as half-time approached.
The second half started as the first ended with each side trying to play open rugby. In a strong Garnock drive their hooker was yellow-carded for failing to roll away at a ruck.
With the extra man, Carrick powered well inside the Garnock half. Their forwards won a scrum near Garnock’s 22 metre line. The ball was shipped to the threequarters and Greg Montgomery scored a well-worked try. Johnson's boot added the conversion and Carrick moved to into an 18-0 lead after 56 minutes.
Carrick started dominating and only determined tackling by Garnock kept the score from moving on. During this period Garnock were awarded two convertible penalties but elected to kick for position and attack the Carrick try line from the resultant lineout. On both occasions the Carrick defence withstood powerful scrummage drives by the Garnock pack and eventually cleared the danger.
Carrick came back and in the last quarter scored two converted tries to put the game beyond Garnock’s grasp at 32-0 with only five minutes left.
For this period the game was played inside the Carrick 22 metre area.
With time up, Garnock won a scrum on their left, fed it through Jared Reekie and Rory Walker for the ball to reach Jordan Taggart who powered his way past the defence to score near the touchline. The conversion was missed and Carrick easily saw out the game.
This was a better display by Garnock who for most of the game matched their opponents, Carrick were well drilled and should be involved in the promotion positions at the end of the season.
On Saturday, 12th March, Garnock play league leaders Glasgow Accies at Lochshore with a 3pm kick-off.