Bulls scrape home against Howe
Home win moves Bulls up to 4th
President Ian Leggate said of this National 2 twenty points to twelve victory over Howe of Fife, “this was a dour match, and a really gritty performance from the team”. In a match in which defences were on top throughout, few opportunities emerged, but it was Hamilton who capitalised on those which did. And yet in the early stages it looked as though Hamilton would continue where they left off against West last week, running in two converted tries in similar fashion.
First up was Captain Mark Wallace
who followed up a smart blind side break by Ryan and Wilson. Quick ball released the Centre running a great line to score under the posts in 10 minutes. Two minutes later. Quick recycling of the kick off saw the ball moved quickly to the wing where James Howatson
broke clear. A smart inside pass to Ryan took the ball deep into Howe territory and another smart off load allowed Scott Alexander
to romp in for the second. Bothe were converted by Owen McLeish
Howe hit back on 17 minutes when Hamilton conceded a penalty in front of their own posts. Howe chose to scrum. This was a perfect attacking platform and Full back Sean Gray entered the line a broke clear to score under the posts. Conversion by stand off Ellis. For much of the rest of the half, neither side was able to impose themselves on the match. Hamilton’s attempts to attack were thwarted by very fast defensive line, which flirted dangerously with the offside line. Deteriorating weather conditions also led to several unforced errors. Against the run of play, it was Howe who were next on the score board as half time approached with an unconverted try by centre Wardlaw, from an overhead pass out of the tackle.
Hamilton pressed from the off in the second half but Howe continually slowed the ball at the loose preventing Hamilton’s quick ball attack. Howe’s no 15 was sin binned, and Hamilton took advantage after Charlie Craig
broke clear, he was stopped just short, and not released. Owen McLeish
slotted the penalty to ease Hamilton’s concern. Ross Inglis
was denied when he went over in the corner, the referee adjudging that he had knocked on over the line. On 65 minutes Howe’s no 7 was sin binned for frequent infringement at the break down. Once again McLeish slotted the penalty.
Both sides cancelled each other out, but it was Howe pressing towards the end when Mark Wallace
was harshly sin binned for not releasing in the tackle. Hamilton’s defence held out for a well deserved win. Coach Gemmell’s policy of running with the ball in hand throughout was justified again, but ball retention needs to improve as the season progresses.
The 2nd XV gave a spirited performance but went down away to league leaders Edinburgh Accies by 27 – 10. The 3rd XV romped to a 116 – 0 victory over East Kilbride 2nd XV.