GHK 29 - 36 Hamilton
Late Jingles Try Saves Hamilton Blushes
GHK 29 - 36 Hamilton
The Bulls were slow off the bus and GHK recorded two soft early tries, both borne of missed mid-field tackles.
In their first meaningful sortie into the home twenty-two, Hamilton were gifted a try as successive home players played hot potato with the ball. James Howatson won turnover ball virtually on the GHK line and Gareth Jones drove over. Owen McLeish added the extras, and when the home full-back held on after Robert Brown’s thumping tackle, the Hamilton ten slotted the penalty to further reduce the leeway to 12-10.
Hamilton’s mid-field tackling woes continued allowing GHK stand-off Cammy Hughes to go clean through, but good scrambling defence and a big Craig Inglis tackle kept the line intact.
Hamilton were committed in following up McLeish’s long kicks, and gained good field position, when this time Scott Alexander chopped the home full-back as he tried to run the ball back.
A burst of vintage Hamilton handling saw the ball swept right to left giving Ross Inglis a tilt. With the cover approaching he put through a well-weighted chip which Andy Wilson grounded for a delightful try. McLeish struck a fine conversion from wide to make it 12-17.
The referee penalised a home player for ‘in at the side’ and McLeish stuck the ball in the corner. The ball was secured at the line-out and the maul driven. The forwards rumbled round the side before quick hands got the ball wide to Ross Inglis who had a simple run in. This time, McLeish’s kick drifted wide.
As the interval approached GHK tried to run the ball out from their own line. With the winger waiting wide, the centre tried to throw a high pass over the on-rushing Hamilton centre. Unfortunately for the home side, that Hamilton player was Craig Inglis. He gathered the ball at full stretch and simply fell forward over the line for the bonus point try. McLeish's conversion made it 12-29 at the break.
There was an expectation amongst some of the Bulls’ support that there would be a try-fest in the second period, but that was to reckon without what coach David Gemmell described as the ‘schizophrenic nature’ of the side.
A combination of ‘foot off the gas’ by Hamilton, astute use of the wind by the home stand-off, some unusual refereeing interpretations and the employment of the twelve-man driven line-out by the home side, saw them notch three tries. The third touchdown, after 70 minutes, was converted to make the score 29-29 and set up an exciting finale.
To the delight of the sizeable travelling support, the ‘good Bulls’ came out to play in the last spell. Ball retention became the focus, and Hamilton camped in the home twenty-two. A sniping run from a tapped penalty by Hugo Crush turned the home defenders and quick ball was fed wide. With space and time, Craig Inglis stepped inside and drove low for the line to score. Andy Wilson added the goal points and despite GHK’s frantic efforts to force a further score, the Bulls held firm for a somewhat fortunate 29-36 victory.