Report by Donald Woodrow
The Bulls made it three out of three in their Cup campaign on Saturday when they travelled through to West for their latest Group C encounter.
It was a perfect start when they secured early lineout possession and spun the ball wide for Owen McLeish to break through the centre and go in for an early try. Owen then comverted to make it 7-0 to Hamilton. From the restart, McAuley broke for West only to be well stopped at the Hamilton 22, The resulting Hamilton scrum was converted to a penalty and McLeish cleared to touch. McCowan secured good ball in the line and Robertson broke clear, only to be stopped just short. The Hamilton forwards pilled in and drove forward to enable Andy Hill to touch down for try number two. This was duly converted by McLeish and Hamilton had quickly moved ahead 14-0.
Russell took things on for West from the restart and was well supported by Henderson. The West man was halted in his tracks by a thundering tackle by Kenny Brown and the home team had to settle for a scum. Hamilton took this against the head as the Bulls forwards started to dominate proceedings. The ball was quickly passed out to Ross Inglis and the Hamilton winger looked to have gone all the way only to be stopped inches from the line. Fortunately Adam Burnett was on hand to take over and he when in for the third try and a score of 19-0 to Hamilton.
West showed a goodly measure of determination to get back into the game after these early setbacks and Thomson and Walker in particular were putting in good efforts to move the ball towards the Hamilton line. Hamilton’s defensive qualities were well up to the challenge however and Brown and McGrath were putting in some solid tackles whenever required. A Walker pick up at the back of a scrum saw the ball passed out to Sim and just when things looked to have opened up for the Burnbrae men a fumbled ball brought everything to a halt. Turnbull broke from the resulting scrum and Selfridge supplied the power to take the ball on. Andy Wilson stepped up the pressure and returning captain Richard Maxton was on hand to make the decisive break and set up McCowan for the bonus try.
McLeish added on the extra points to make it 26-0. With the break fast approaching Maxton secured good ball in a lineout and David Lopez broke free before supplying Ibarburu with the ball and the Hamilton forward drove towards the line only to be stopped just short. The resulting scrum was powerfully driven towards the line and West had little alternative but to bring it down, resulting in a penalty try award. McLeish converted and as the whistle sounded for the break Hamilton had a commanding 33-0 advantage.
There was little change in the second period as Hamilton pressed home their domination of this match. Walker looked to be making good ground for West when he was well stopped by Andy Hill and when the Hamilton forwards drove over Selfridge picked up and broke for the Bulls. A quickly taken penalty then saw Turnbull break free and the Hamilton man was unstoppable as he when in for the opening score of the second half. McLeish then made it 40-0 and the blue and green machine was rolling once again.
McLeish put a penalty award into touch and McGeough secured possession in the resulting scrum. The forwards then drove ahead before spinning the ball out to Lopez in the centre. A neatly kicked ahead ball from the young Hamilton man was pounced on out wide by Craig Inglis for a try at the corner and McLeish converted a difficult one from out on the touchline to move the score along to 47-0. Hamilton were pilling on the pressure at this point, with no thought of easing up and settling for what they already had.
Time and again possession was stolen whenever West looked to have got anything going and from just such a situation Turnbull kicked to touch and Maxton stole in the resulting lineout. When Wilson broke free the youngster looked to have made it to the line but was pulled up just short, only delaying the inevitable. A solid scrum was driven over the line and Selfridge dropped on the ball for the latest try and a score of 52-0. A good break by West’s winger Cuthbertson was well stopped by Wilson and McLaughlin was able to step in and bring the ball clear. Wilson then kicked ahead and Whiteside was able to get up on the loose ball to move things along to 57-0.
West were clearly tiring as the game started to edge towards the final whistle, but Hamilton were far from finished. Once again stolen ball saw Selfridge break clear and he found Robertson who ran well into space and took the ball over for a try. Ross Inglis converted and it was now 64-0. Then in the dying seconds, Turnbull kicked deep and just when West’s Cuthberston looked to have mopped things up, Hamilton were quickly in and once again stole back possession. An impressive passing move along the back line resulted in Ross Inglis going in at the corner and when the Hamilton man converted his own score the final whistle sounded and the score was 71-0 to Hamilton.
A very impressive, solid performance throughout by Hamilton and hopefully this can be taken forward into next week when the Bulls return to league action with the visit of Selkirk to Laigh Bent.