Bulls promotion charge continues
Bulls go 2nd
Hamilton Bulls title challenge was boosted by a hard fought bonus point win at West of Scotland on Saturday in a rearranged National League 2 fixture. The win, played on West’s new 3G pitch, took the Bulls up into second in the table.
West, whose form of late has been much improved, opened the match showing real intent, attacking from the off, testing Hamilton’s defensive structure. The bulls held firm and a scrum penalty gave them relief. This forward dominance laid the platform for the first try on 7 minutes, scored by flanker Robert Brown after some good forward phases, and slick hands to beat the West defence. The conversion for Owen McLeish
was good despite the strong cross-wind.
West again showed their intent, but Bulls were resolute and structured in their defence and a penalty from McLeish pushed them deep into West territory. Hamilton’s scrum dominance led to try number two scored by Scott Alexander
from a scrum push over. The conversion went wide and Hamilton led 12 – 0 after 15 minutes. West’s next attack resulted in Hamilton losing Jones to the sin bin fro a deliberate knock on, but the Hamilton scrum was still dominant and Mcleish was able to clear long down field. However at the next scrum Hamilton lost control of the ball and some messy handling gave West the opportunity to push the game up to the Hamilton 5 Metre line. Bulls defended the resulting maul well and Mcleish cleared with his next penalty won again by the front row. Having seen out the sin bin period without loss Hamilton went on the offensive again and West lost a man to the sin bin for a no arms tackle. Again Hamilton opted for the scrum at the penalty and again were awarded a scrum penalty and again the forwards drove the scrum over for Alexander to touch down but no conversion.
The boot of Mcleish was however a potent weapon and his clearance kicks were effective in escaping from their own line. However when he kicked deep in mid field, Wilson was the first to react to the bounce on the 3G pitch and his speed carried him behind the West defence to gather and touch down for the bonus point try taking Hamilton to a 22 point half time lead.
West opened the second half strongly, by changing tactic and making several strong carries in mid field, narrowing the Hamilton defence. West’s aggressive play resulted in a series of penalties and Hamilton’s hooker, McQueen, was sin-binned for repeated infringement. Again West took the short penalty and drove towards the line and they were finally rewarded when their forwards crossed for an unconverted try. West took advantage of the numbers to score their second when the backs went blind and found space for their wing to cross, again unconverted.
Bulls refreshed the team from the bench, and went on the offensive. The rain and wind were playing havoc with handling for both sides, the game became much more broken, although Bulls’ scrum dominance kept the pressure on West and Ben Plant
was the beneficiary as slick hands fed the ball from line out ball straight to the wing. He still had work to do but beat 2 defenders to go in at the corner for Hamilton’s 5th try. Bull went straight back upfield from the kick off, mastering the conditions for Wilson to score his second after a darting run and offload from scrum half Crush taking the bulls to a 32 – 10 lead. The last word went to West whose direct approach saw McLean sin binned, and a try scored on thr right wing. Final score Hamilton 32 – West 15.
Coach Gemmell was delighted with the performance especially in the conditions. Is delight was increased with the result of the 2nd XV who beat high flying Boroughmuir 24 - 17in National reserve league 1, moving them out of the relegation Zone. The 3rd Xv also notched a victory against west 2nds by 19 - 13 , the under 18s beat Stewartry 7 – 0 in the West Cup, and the Ladies team, beat Falkirk. “It’s all coming good at the right time, due to the hard work and application at training.”