U18 - Match centre

Ayr RFC
Hamilton Rugby Club
6 , 5 , 6 , 4 , 5
Full time
B Simpson, C Stewart, O Dalby
1 , 9 , 9
R MacDonald
9 , 9
Sat 25 Mar 12:20 - Cup

West Cup Final

A creditable performance in the U18 West Cup Final

Hamilton U18s travelled to Ayr for their final competitive game of the season. Ayr who were finalists in the National Cup and runners up in the Presidents Conference have only been bettered by Stirling this year so this was an opportunity for the young Bulls to test themselves against one of the best teams in Scotland. Ayr, who also had a convincing win when we last met in the National Cup, approached the game as clear favourites. One thing we have learned about this young Bulls team though is that they have no reason to fear any team and they approached the game in a sun soaked Ayrshire coast with a spring in their step and a clear plan of putting Ayr under as much pressure as possible.

Ayr received the kick off and soon found out that ball retention and territory gains were going to hard fought. The Bulls opened with aggression and pace that soon earned them possession inside their hosts half and after the Ayr defenced pressed too early Hamilton were awarded a penalty 25 yards out. Robbie MacDonald, who had been hitting the upright regularly during warm up, stepped up to take the penalty but the ball found the post again, bouncing back into play. Although Ayr recovered the ball first the Hamilton forwards won the resulting ruck before the ball was shipped out to the left hand side where Billy Simpson powered over the line to open the scoring for the Bulls.

One might have expected a stunned silence from the stand but family and friends had packed a supporters bus, various cars and a few train coaches to create a raucous travelling support that cancelled out any home advantage Ayr expected to have. After every Hamilton score one half of the stand was mute whilst the other half bounced to its foundations. A very big thanks goes to all the supporters who created that atmosphere and to Graeme Bruce who made sure the game was streamed live back to Leigh Bent for those who could not travel through.

Ayr realised they were in a game but showed no sign of panic and ten minutes later after a period of good pressure they won a line out on the 5 metre line and whilst the referee was giving the Hamilton boys a mark Ayr threw a sneaky ball to their blind side flanker who scored without resistance. The conversion took them into a 7-5 lead.

Any concerns that Hamilton’s first try was a flash in the pan were quickly dismissed when they replied 4 minutes later with a try from Callum Stewart. Robbie MacDonald missing the conversion again. But Ayr fought back and towards the end of the half they stacked the blind side of a ruck on the right hand side and scored.

With Ayr missing the conversion the first half ended with a 12-10 lead to the home side. Hamilton had shown more aggression and passion and demonstrated they could score tries when they visited the oppositions 22 but it looked increasingly that the difference might come done to kicking.

In the first few minutes of the second period Ayr took full advantage of two penalty kicks adding a further 6 points to their score. The next 5 minutes saw Hamilton return the pressure with two penalties of their own but the post gremlin continued to haunt Robbie as he hit the upright for the second and third time for no points. The young Bulls did not give up hope and after a fantastic period of concerted pressure with good ball retention they took a quick penalty with David Coccoza, Cammie Moran, Angus Colvin all coming up just short of the line before the ball finally broke to a determined Ollie Dalby who rode two tacklers and stretched out a long arm to put the ball on the line beside the posts. Robbie converted to take the score to 18-17.

Ayr soon responded with a try on their left wing to restore their 8 point margin and for the next 15 minutes the two teams fought for the all important next score. The crowd were treated to a highly competitive and entertaining game of rugby.

As the clock ran down Hamilton had to play catch up rugby with tired legs. Their determination to breech the Ayr defence was commendable but left them open to the counter attack and Ayr managed to score two tries in the last two minutes of the game to give a convincing points victory.

It is true that over the 70 minutes Hamilton lost 37-17 but let us be clear that this was a closely fought battle between two good rugby teams with only 8 points separating them 2 minutes from the end. Yes, our boys should look at the game and see how they can improve individually and as a team but they should also take from this game real self-belief in their abilities and pride in their team performance. It was made clear to coaching staff after the game that the whole club are proud of them all and what they have achieved and we should look forward to playing in the Presidents Conference next year.

Key moments

5:54
Try Billy Simpson scores for Hamilton Rugby Club
13:45
Try 6 scores for Ayr RFC
13:57
Conversion 10 kicks a conversion for Ayr RFC
17:25
Try Callum Stewart scores for Hamilton Rugby Club
25:29
Try 5 scores for Ayr RFC
0:44
Penalty 9 kicks a penalty for Ayr RFC
3:44
Penalty 9 kicks a penalty for Ayr RFC
13:49
Try Ollie Dalby scores for Hamilton Rugby Club
14:36
Conversion Robbie MacDonald kicks a conversion for Hamilton Rugby Club
17:02
Try 6 scores for Ayr RFC
17:58
Conversion 9 kicks a conversion for Ayr RFC
33:05
Try 4 scores for Ayr RFC
33:46
Conversion 9 kicks a conversion for Ayr RFC
36:50
Try 5 scores for Ayr RFC

Highlights

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37:53 Missed Conversion
4 misses a conversion for Ayr RFC
36:50 Try 37 - 17
5 scores for Ayr RFC
33:46 Conversion 32 - 17
9 kicks a conversion for Ayr RFC
33:05 Try 30 - 17
4 scores for Ayr RFC
17:58 Conversion 20 - 17
9 kicks a conversion for Ayr RFC
17:02 Try 18 - 12
6 scores for Ayr RFC
14:36 Conversion 13 - 12
Robbie MacDonald kicks a conversion for Hamilton Rugby Club
13:49 Try 11 - 10
Ollie Dalby scores for Hamilton Rugby Club
9:13 Missed Penalty
Robbie MacDonald misses a penalty for Hamilton Rugby Club
7:38 Missed Penalty
Robbie MacDonald misses a penalty for Hamilton Rugby Club
3:44 Penalty 6 - 0
9 kicks a penalty for Ayr RFC
0:44 Penalty 3 - 0
9 kicks a penalty for Ayr RFC
End of period 1
26:31 Missed Conversion
10 misses a conversion for Ayr RFC
25:29 Try 25 - 17
5 scores for Ayr RFC
17:43 Missed Conversion
Robbie MacDonald misses a conversion for Hamilton Rugby Club
17:25 Try 18 - 17
Callum Stewart scores for Hamilton Rugby Club
13:57 Conversion 13 - 10
10 kicks a conversion for Ayr RFC
13:45 Try 11 - 5
6 scores for Ayr RFC
6:46 Missed Conversion
Robbie MacDonald misses a conversion for Hamilton Rugby Club
5:54 Try 6 - 5
Billy Simpson scores for Hamilton Rugby Club
5:19 Missed Penalty
Robbie MacDonald misses a penalty for Hamilton Rugby Club
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Ayr RFC
  • Hamilton Rugby Club
  • 0
  • Billy Simpson Try 5:54'
  • 6 Try 13:45'
  • 10 Conversion 13:57'
  • Callum Stewart Try 17:25'
  • 5 Try 25:29'
  • 9 Penalty 0:44'
  • 9 Penalty 3:44'
  • Ollie Dalby Try 13:49'
  • Robbie MacDonald Conversion 14:36'
  • 6 Try 17:02'
  • 9 Conversion 17:58'
  • 4 Try 33:05'
  • 9 Conversion 33:46'
  • 5 Try 36:50'

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