Carrick 67 Haddington 22

NEW Haddington head coach Kieran Cooney praised an under-strength side despite a heavy defeat in their league opener at promoted Carrick.

The Reds were without 14 regulars as they made the long trip west and fell to a big loss in ex-Kelso man Cooney’s first game in charge.

But the new boss was pleased to see the club able to field a side, after calling off their National League Cup tie at Newton Stewart a week earlier.

He said: “We were struggling for a team last Tuesday and, following the efforts from the club, we managed to pull together 19 players”

The Reds made a disastrous start, the visitors scoring directly from the first kick-off, and that was a problem area for the Reds.

Cooney added: “Three tries from kick-offs in the first half really hurt us and the scoreboard didn’t reflect the efforts of the players.”

Captain Alex Ferguson kicked Haddington’s only points of the first half as Carrick led 34-3 at the break.

The hosts kept up their ruthless try-scoring after the break, while for the Reds scrum-half Cammy Simpson, lock Harry Hamilton and centre Theo Cestaro went over.

Cooney is hoping his side can bounce back when they host Newton Stewart on Saturday: “With 14 players returning for selection this week, we’ll get a better indication of where we are as a team.”

Haddington: J Dewar, G Morton, T Cestaro, S Rolfe, T Salkeld; A Ferguson, C Simpson; M Dunlop, K Cooney, K Harper, G Harper, H Hamilton, C Hamilton, K De Vos, G Stewart.