Carrick Academy 1st XV played their final game of 2008 against Hamilton College on Wednesday of last week in the last 16 of the Scottish Bowl. The game had to be moved to Irvine Rugby Club due to the school pitch being unplayable. Unlike what certain officials from Perthshire had stated the previous week the pitch at Irvine was excellent condition, a credit to the famous Irvine Groundsman.
Carrick played into the strong wind in the first half and were given strict instructions to keep the game tight by using their strong forward pack. The lineout was going well with Lyle Cairns taking both Carrick and Hamilton throw ins and the scrummage was on the front foot taking several against the head. Hamilton however were battling hard with their Number 7 causing Carrick problems whenever he got the ball. After 20 minutes the game was still scoreless until after a series of forward drives the ball was swept across the Carrick back line for Ross ' Russel' McCulloch to score in the corner to give the blue's a 5 -0 lead. The conversion was missed. The remainder of the half was played out without any real scoring opportunities being created.
With the wind now behind the Maybole boys backs they went on the attack straight from kick off. The forwards provided the backs with unlimited ball to work their opponents and from a scummage 40 metres out Duncan Sturgeon hit the line at pace and created the space for David Logan to score his 14th try of the season. A further two tries were scored in quick succession. Captain Michael 'Powerhouse' Paton scored what is becoming a trade mark 30 metre try, breaking through 6 tackles to reach the line and then David Logan again scored after good work from Man of the match Michael 'Bull' Kirk who drew the last man perfectly to pass to Logan to score his 15th try of the season. Logan kicked the final conversion.
To Hamilton's credit they never gave up and scored a try with 3 minutes to go but by that time Carrick knew that they were through to the quarter finals. This was an excellent victory considering the weather conditions. Three of the four Blues scores came from their wingers and this shows that even in poor conditions the Carrick back line are an effective unit.
The draw for the next round has given Carrick another home tie against Arbroath High School or the Nicolson Institute. The game has been provisionally arranged to be played on Wednesday 21st January.
Mr Brown was delighted with the performance
"The whole squad contributed to this victory. We played the conditions well but if I was being critical we should have scored more points especially in the second half. Hamilton battled for everything and made life difficult for us but our forwards were providing enough ball and you could see that when we get the ball out wide we always look likely to score. We reached the quarter Finals of the Plate last season and the boys are now totally focused to go even further in this competition this season. "
At the half way point of the season the 1st XV find themselves in the Scottish Bowl Quarter Finals and Ayrshire Cup Semi Finals. They have played 14 games and won 12 of them. This indicates that this side could well be the most successful side in the schools history. The New Year sees both the Bowl Quarter Final and an Ayrshire Cup Semi Final but also challenging games against a Marr 1st XV for the first time and Morrisons 1st XV in mid March. These games will give an indication of how good this squad of players actually are. 2009 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Carrick Rugby!!
On behalf of all the players, coaches and teachers of Carrick Academy we wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and enjoyable New Year.