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1st XV - Match centre

Dumfries Saints
Sat 27 Jan 14:00 - Club Championship - BT National League Division 2 Full time

Bulls Bounce back with victory

Hamilton 24, Dumfries 3

Hamilton recovered from the disappointment of their last outing to overcome a strong Dumfries outfit at a wet and windy Laigh Bent, by 24 points to 3. This victory was down to power, passion and patience which has not always been evident in the team’s play. The platform was laid by the forwards who quickly established complete dominance in the scrum. Possession was carefully managed by both forwards and backs and the error count was therefore much reduced.
The Bulls showed their determination on the early exchanges when Dumfries were awarded a series of penalties allowing them to gain a foothold in Hamilton territory. However the passion of Hamilton’s defence was led by the back row’s ferocious tackling backed up by the accurate line speed of the backs, denying Dumfries the space to attack. They were rewarded by a penalty strike by centre John Christie on 7 minutes. Hamilton levelled through the boot of Owen McLeish within 5 minutes. Hamilton began to work their way into the game with the forwards playing good phase rugby, marked by strong carries from Brown, Brodie and Carr, launching attack after attack. Dumfries showed great resilience in defence and held Hamilton at bay, but patience was eventually rewarded when Mcleish slotted his second penalty, and then as the half edged to a close Hamilton got their first try. Hamilton’s scrum won three penalties in quick succession and as the Dumfries defence got narrow, Mcleish popped an accurate crossfield kick into the arms of Andy Wilson who dotted down in the corner. McLeish was successful with the conversion giving Hamilton a half time lead of 13 – 3.
The second half opened with Hamilton making 3 forward substitutions, but the pattern continued with Hamilton’s scrum dominant and within 5 minutes the gap widened when substitute James Howatson powered over in the corner after some accurate, patient forward drives. The wind prevented the conversion. Hamilton’s dominance continued and was rewarded with another two successful penalties from McLeish. As the game drew to a close Dumfries pressed hard to reduce the leeway but Hamilton were determined to prevent any further scoring. Pressure was relieved by some great running from Craig Inglis and Andy Wilson.
This was a real contest between two very good sides, and coach Gemmell was delighted with the game management of his young side. Lessons have been learned from previous disappointments. The boot of Mcleish was used judiciously, to match the speed of the outside backs, but the most noticeable improvement was in the ball retention which had cost the team in previous matches.
The Bulls look forward to next weekend when Whitecraigs provide the opposition in a rearranged fixture, followed by a home match against local rivals Biggar on the 10th of the month. These matches provide the Bulls with the chance to get their title challenge back on track.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Kirkcaldy 19 82
2. Hamilton 20 77
3. Dumfries Saints 20 74
4. Lasswade 20 64
5. Biggar 20 62
6. Peebles 20 61
7. GHK 20 41

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