Omens of doom cause Greens to lose their way
A FLU bug, a yellow card, an absent bus driver and another who got lost should have been obvious omens to Caithness that last weekend's trip to Ayrshire would not end well.
The Greens were easily brushed aside by Carrick 39-12 in their National League Division Three clash.
Four players had to call off from the trip south owing to being ill, leaving the coaching staff scrambling for numbers. Only three substitutes were named and some players had to be played out of position.
It was always going to be a struggle and a poor display did not help matters as Carrick cruised to an easy win.
Caithness skipper Marc Anderson said: "We had four missing with the flu and, given numbers were a bit low anyway, we were struggling to fill the bench – only three places were filled there and two of those were from the under-18 squad.
"On top of that, the bus journey down was delayed as the driver also fell ill. We did get a replacement but he got lost a couple of times on the way down there.
"It was going to be a tough game anyway but all of that, plus the fact that we did not play well, meant it was even tougher.
"Our defence was just not up to it. Our set-piece suffered, we missed a lot of tackles, lost out on the breakdown and Carrick had a couple of strong runners who were difficult to handle. There were some positives, though – one being the performance of Gordon Macleod.
"Because of the situation regarding numbers, Gordon, who plays with the backs as an outside centre, had to slot in with the forwards as a blindside flanker.
"That's quite a transition to make. You hear of blindside and open flankers being converted to backs but I imagine it's more difficult to go the other way. Gordon, though, put his hand up and played well."
Try scorers for Caithness were Kris Hamilton and Cameron Ryder, with Marc Anderson weighing in with a conversion. Evan Sutherland picked up a yellow card just before half-time.
Carrick's tries came from John Limond, Sean Young, Greg Montgomery, Greg Haswell, Conor Wylie, Joseph Connon and Blair Jardine, with two conversions by John Fulton.
Caithness take on Haddington at Millbank tomorrow (2pm) hoping to get back to winning ways before the league takes a break for the Six Nations internationals.
Anderson added: "Haddington are not doing too well at the minute but we will not be taking them for granted. We'll hope to have Jack Macleod, Rory Gray and Ben Bisset back in the team.
"The pitch should be okay with the weather being what it is. There might be a bit of frost first thing but that usually clears up.
"Hopefully we can get a good turnout at Millbank prior to the break."
Meanwhile, the club has welcomed new sponsors on board with Mackays Hotel and Wick off-licence Bin Ends sponsoring both the club's minibus and team physios.
Gordonians snatched a crucial win as they beat promotion-chasing rivals Newton Stewart 22-20.
Tom Williams (2) and Tristan Jones were the try-scoring heroes as they handed Newton Stewart their first home defeat in two years.
Orkney had a torrid time in Edinburgh as they fell 34-16 defeat at the hands of Murrayfield Wanderers.