Mar 2 2012 by Jean Pedder, Stirling Observer Friday
AFTER their convincing away win against Jordanhill Phoenix (37-0) the previous week, McLaren maintained their excellent form against a hardworking Carrick side at Dunblane on Saturday, writes Rob Jones.
This was another four try-fest, earning the home team a precious bonus point to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.
Watched by a good crowd, the first half was very even with both teams contesting territory and possession with vigour. McLaren struck first and went into an eight point lead midway through the half courtesy of a penalty by Ross Drummond and try by No 8 Adam More.
In reply Carrick drew level through a Riley penalty and Deans try. McLaren continued to threaten the visitors’ line.
There were a couple of good breaks by wing Letton and full back Millar, but to no avail and nothing separated the teams at the break.
Playing with the benefit of a stiff breeze at the restart it didn’t take long for McLaren to capitalise.
Five minutes into the half the pack manufactured a rolling maul from the lineout, quick hands saw the ball move across the backs allowing the forwards to follow-up.
The ball was reset at the ruck, More carried the ball to the Carrick ten metre line feeding centre Graham who crossed for an unconverted try to give the home side a 13-8 advantage.
From this point McLaren increasingly asserted their dominance over their hardworking opponents.
In particular, substitute Dykes peppered Carrick’s defence with astute kicks for territory forcing the Ayrshire outfit onto the backfoot. Scott Drummond broke from his 22 and fed speedster Letton who touched down between the posts. Ross Drummond converted to increase McLaren’s lead (20-8).
As McLaren forced the pace poor handling let them down, chances went begging and careless play gifted penalties to their opponents blotting a competent performance.
Letton’s second try in the corner ten minutes from time sealed the victory and the bonus point.
Sent to the sin bin in the first half for obstruction, McLaren prop Blair Craig made amends in the second half, with well executed tackles and earning the man of the match.