Carrick 29 points | Hillhead Jordanhill 22 points
IT IS A TRUSIM that a game of rugby lasts for eighty minutes and that what takes place in the first quarter is not necessarily a perfect indicator of the eventual outcome. Thus it was at Maybole on Saturday where Hills gave the impression they would sweep Carrick aside thanks to their opening burst. Their first phase, both line out and scrum, were secure, and they moved the ball with purpose, scoring a fine try from Rory Harte who ran some seventy metres to score, profiting from a well executed miss move in the centre, initiated by stand-off Euan Brown. The no. 10 converted and then added a penalty to place the Hills ten points ahead after the opening exchanges. Thereafter Carrick came more into the game, proving more powerful at the breakdown, despite some solid defence from all the visiting players. After forty minutes, the home side had edged marginally in front by eighteen points to seventeen. Rory Harte had scored from close range and his try had been converted, but it was still game-on with Carrick having to play into the low sun for the second half.
Injures to loose-head prop Ross Jackson and second row Charlie Smillie shortly after the break necessitated a much earlier introduction of bench replacements than intended; this resulted in disruptions, particularly to the front row. An increasing fragility seeped into the Hills’ second half performance and their first half sparkle faded badly. Certainly a yellow card did not help, but the game fell away into a struggle for territory and good go-forward ball. Hills came out second best on both counts and the score mounted inexorably in favour of Carrick. With one minute left Hills were looking at taking nothing from the game, until some belated continuity play released Chris Warnock on the burst in the home twenty two. His thunderous charge fell just short, but some determined recycling allowed Rory Harte sufficient space to cross the line unopposed for his third try of the afternoon. The fact his conversion fell short was of limited importance, as the losing bonus point had been secured. The final whistle sounded and the Hills players were left to reflect on how a game which had started full of promise ended so disappointingly.
Next up, Hills Men’s 1st XV play HADDINGTON on Saturday 8th December at Hughenden with a 14.30 KO. This game will be played under the main pitch floodlights.