This week’s report has been provided by the courtesy of the Irvine match reporter, Dereck Murdoch. Both sides were not at full strength with five of the Irvine side who started last week’s fine win against Kilmarnock unavailable whereas only three of the Carrick side was unavailable.
Both coaches were happy to play the match in four quarters giving them the opportunity to test their full squad .
Carrick won a scrappy trials match against Irvine to maintain their momentum ahead of the resumption of their league campaign at Cumbernauld in a fortnight.
Fittingly for a match played on Super Bowl weekend in the NFL – an occasion Scotland match referee Alain Rolland would later celebrate by allowing England centre Billy Twelvetrees to score at Twickenham off a pass better suited to the gridiron code – the match was split into four quarters of twenty minutes each, rather than the more usual two halves of forty.
Two of those quarters were scoreless however, with the visitors having to be patient in order to make their superiority count.
After a cagey start, Carrick had a chance to edge in front when fly-half Euan McGregor lined up a field goal attempt, but his kick from a relatively central position was no good.
The deadlock was broken almost immediately however when wide receiver Russ McCulloch returned the resulting drop-out kick for the opening touchdown of the game with only five minutes played. McGregor added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Irvine nearly hit back straight away, but conceded a penalty in their eagerness to capitalise and the pressure was off. The game became somewhat bogged down in midfield after this but Carrick finished the quarter strongly with two good chances to extend their lead.
The hosts had a brief flurry of possession in the Carrick red zone as the half hour approached, but it was the visitors who continued to create the better chances, and McCulloch's opposite number John Dewar was unfortunate to be ruled out of bounds as he looked set to score.
The home side had their best spell of the game in the third quarter, but again failed to capitalise.
The final proof that it was not to be their day came early in the fourth quarter, when they forced two penalties in quick succession near the Carrick end zone and came away with nothing – and shortly afterwards Dewar punished them by rushing clear for the second touchdown of the afternoon under the posts, making the points after a formality.
That ended any lingering hope the hosts might have had of salvaging anything from the game and Dewar notched a second touchdown – and his side's third – inside the two-minute warning to make the game safe at 21 to zero
"The Gordon Brown you could have voted for" – as Mike Carlson would call him – wore the look of a satisfied man after the final whistle and will be feeling confident about Saturday week's trip to Auchenkilns after this performance.