1st XV - Match centre

Howe of Fife
Sat 25 Mar 15:00 - Club Championships - BT National League Division 1 Full time

Bulls Go Down Fighting

"We’ll be back” says coach Gemmell

Howe of Fife were the visitors to Laigh Ben on Saturday, with both teams desperate to escape the relegation zone, but needing results elsewhere to go their way. Both sides emerged determined to show their best but it was Hamilton who hit the ground running. Hamilton’s tactics were clear from the off, determined to keep the ball in hand. In defence they showed great line speed to shut down the threat from The Howe backs, and it was this speed which allowed Inglis to charge down an attempted clearance kick. Andy Wilson was on it in a flash and ran in under the posts, converting his own try. Hamilton kept the ball in hand even deep in their own territory and the tactic worked again when Inglis breached the Howe defence, off loading to Wilson who carried deep into Howe territory before feeding Liam Bell whose lovely step on the full back saw him in under the posts. Wilson converted again. The touch line support, which included 70 of the Hamilton Ladies on their day out, at last felt they were seeing the true Hamilton, moving the ball confidently and at pace.
However, Howe changed tactic and kept the ball close to their forwards. This one pass tactic took them deep into Hamilton’s 22, and on 17 minutes they were rewarded with a try for their Stand off Dom Martin, who also converted. From the Kick off, Hamilton’s Alexander was yellow carded for taking the man in the air and Hamilton found themselves on the back foot. Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Hamilton set piece continued to dominate, and the sin bin period passed without further scoring. As Half time approached Hamilton again broke from deep showing the accuracy which has been lacking all season. It fell to prop Chris McLaughlin to add the try, with a beautiful sidestep to escape the defence of Howe. Wilson again added the extras. Half time; 21 – 7
Howe’s coach, Gary Horne took his team into the dressing room and when they emerged for the second half, they showed they were not finished and within 5 minutes were back on the score board with a well worked try from Centre Duncan McIntyre. Martin added the extras closing the gap to 7. Hamilton responded immediately, and after a series of penalties conceded by How, their lock was sinbinned. Hamilton made the numbers count and Colville went over for the bonus point try, again converted by Wilson. Five minutes later the front row union was at it again when prop Martin went in under the posts to take Hamilton’s lead out to 35 – 14. Wilson followed with his second try which went unconverted.
Whether caused by the disruption of subs arriving, or a bit of complacency setting in, but Hamilton seemed to lose focus towards the end of the match. Yellow cards for both Inglis and Colville added to their difficulties and they shipped two tries to hooker Crawford and full back Gray. The last word however went to Hamilton when substitute Owen McLeish saw the space in behind the Howe defence. His well placed kick was eventually gathered by the Howe defence, but the follow up tackle from White saw the ball turned over. Wallace made the break and fed Ross Jamieson to go in under the posts. Final Score Hamilton 47 – Howe 26.
Hamilton may be relegated , but it’s not all doom and gloom at Laigh Bent. The second XV went to Watsonians and came away with a great 38 / 31 victory securing mid table place in reserve league division 1. The under 18s succumbed to Ayr in the west cup final at Millbrae after a great performance pushing the team, which is second in Scotland, all the way.

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League round up

Other BT National League Division 1 results

Dundee HSFP
Stewart's Melville FP
Edinburgh Academicals
Aberdeen Grammar Rugby


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Dundee HSFP 20 55
7. GHA 21 55
8. Stewart's Melville FP 22 47
9. Musselburgh 22 44
10. Aberdeen Grammar Rugby 21 34
11. Hamilton 22 28
12. Howe of Fife 22 22

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