BT Shield Final
MURRAYFIELD WANDERDERS 28
CARRICK RUGBY 41
CHAMPAGNE corks exploded at sun-soaked BT Murrayfield on Saturday night as Carrick courageously clawed their way back from behind to retain the top trophy.
After last year's final showdown with Highland they were up against heavily favoured Murrayfield Wanderers who won the East League by 15 points.
The game kicked off with the large Carrick support at its vociferous best.
Murrayfield settled into the game, quickly imposing their powerful running game on Carrick. Phase after phase of attack was repelled by the Carrick defence but eventually the favourites scored a try through Hanlin which was converted.
Carrick hit back with a Kyle Johnson penalty before Greg Montgomery pounced on a spilled ball to score in the corner - A score which was converted from the touch-line by Johnson.
Murrayfield continued to run hard at the Carrick defence and scored two further converted tries - the first from Johnstone and the second from Hanlin.
With a 21 -10 lead, Murrayfield were in control and when Carrick second row Iain Speirs was yellow-carded and influential stand off Johnson left the field injured with cracked ribs. things were not looking good for Carrick.
However, the Carrick team were not going to lie down and just before half-time Lewis Clark scored under the posts and Fulton converted to make the half time score 21 - 17 to Murrayfield.
The second half belonged to Carrick. The first score of the half came when Carrick winger Ross McCulloch rounded his man and scored in the corner. John Fulton converted from the touch line.
With Carrick growing in confidence and using the wide Murrayfield pitch well, Fulton then scored before Lewis Clark grabbed his second try of the day. Neither score was converted to leave the score 34-21 to Carrick.
The final Carrick score came from Montgomery who scored under the posts. The score was converted by man-of-the-match Fulton. In the final play Murrayfield scored a consolation try from Walker to make the final score 41-28/
After the final whistle blew the large Carrick crowd, who had been fantastic throughout the match, cheered louder than ever as Kirk lifted the Shield.
Both sides should take great credit for what was a fantastic match. Post-match Murrayfield Wanderers kindly invited Carrick to their club house for a few drinks. With both sides enjoying a drink and sharing stories this was a great advert for club rugby in Scotland.
It was then back to Maybole where, despite the fact Carrick didn't arrive home until after 11pm, thesupporters had waited in the Speakers Club to welcome home the returning heroes. The support the team get from the local community is quite frankly, fantastic!
Player of the Match: John Fulton (Carrick)
MURRAYFIELD WANDERERS: Chris Beattie; Alex Godsmark, Liam Hanlin, Liam Thomas, Patrick Cooney; Murray Hastie CAPTAIN, Fraser Strachan; Tom Lawman, Ieuan Webb, Penni Navunivanua, Adam McFarlane, John Lee, Steven Crawford, Logan Thom, Callum Johnston. Replacements: Scott Lynes, Brendan Reid, Matthew Stevens, Cian Guerin, Peter Walker, Lachlan Lee, Ewan Eley.
CARRICK: Greg Montgomery; Benjamin Brown, John Fulton, Allan Speirs, Ross McCulloch; Kyle Johnson, Sean Young; Graeme Dick, Joseph Connon, Stephen Raby, Iain Speirs, David Brown, Michael Kirk CAPTAIN, Blair Jardine, Gordon Gregor. Replacements: Jonathon Webster, David Andrew, Andrew McColm, Stuart Bryden, Connor Wyllie, Grant Ward, Lewis Clark.
Referee: Ian Kenny