Carrick firsts eased themselves comfortably through the opening round of this season’s Qualifying Plate competition with a competent 4-1 win away to Randalstown III.
While competing four league sections above their opponents, Carrick went into this game fully respecting Randalstown’s reputation in both Ulster and Irish hockey, so it was a strong visiting side which took to the Antrim Forum pitch on Saturday.
The pattern of the match was defined fairly early on with the visitors quickly taking command of the centre of the field and pressing Randalstown back into their own half with some excellent attacking hockey spread across the entire pitch. Carrick’s opening goal arrived on 18 minutes when midfielder Rachel Lynas finished off a beautiful piece of passing play.
And within two minutes, Carrick struck again when Randalstown were unlucky to see a shot on goal cannon off the post straight to the onrushing Natasha McWilliams who finished off neatly.
Randalstown forced themselves back into the contest early in the second half when they converted their first penalty corner of the match. But Carrick quickly restored their two-goal advantage when Carrick captain Amy Cross netted a wickedly struck cross from Emma Nichols.
In spite of constant Carrick pressure, the hosts continued to defend stubbornly and up until late in the game had prevented their opponents from converting any of their many penalty corners. However, with only five minutes to go, Julie Willis hammered in an unstoppable penalty corner shot to end the game 4-1 in Carrick’s favour.
Carrick Player of the Match: Christine Waide.