Bulls lose out to table topping Jed Forest
By JIm Browning
Jed 31 - Bulls 19 (half time Jed 12 - Hamilton 16)
Hamilton visited table topping Jed Forest attempting to recreate the form that brought them victory last week against Kirkaldy and showed their intent form the off. Jed claimed the kick off but Hamilton’s defensive line speed caught them out and forced a long range penalty in the first minute which Owen McLeish
almost converted. Jed cleared their lines and moved the ball well to the wide outside making good inroads into Hamilton territory earning a penalty just outside the Bulls 22. Unfortunately regular scorers, Ben Plant
and Robert Brown suffered a head knock and were removed from play for medical attention. Jed failed to find touch and Bulls cleared their lines.
Jed’s lineout came onto a game and they began to dominate possession, forcing their way over the Bulls’ line, only for great defence to deny them. Bulls survived a succession of scrums on their line, to clear their lines through the boot of McLeish. Bulls showed their attacking intent by taking short penalties and carrying the ball deep into Jed territory before a loose pass gave back possession. The deadlock was finally broken when on 18 minutes McLeish slotted a penalty, after Jed were caught for crossing in mid field. Despite the loss of two vital players, Bulls continued to throw everything into attack and on 22 minutes, they forced their way deep into the Jed 22. From a lineout maul, scrum half Alistair Sinclair broke loose and scampered over for Bulls’ first try to take an 8 – 0 lead. Bulls were showing great character in defence and were assisted by some uncharacteristic errors by Jed. However one missed tackle let Jed back into attack and from a lineout 5 metres out Prop Oliver forced his way over under the posts for an easy conversion, by Munro.
However Hamilton’s reply was immediate. Good handling saw the ball move from side to side until a gap emerged for Wallace who took the ball close to the line. The support play was brilliant, the ball shuffled quickly to the wing where hooker David McGrath
was lurking to dot down in the corner. Conversion unsuccessful. Bulls extended their lead after another good sequence of play when Oven McLeish dropped into the pocket and knocked over a drop goal on 35 minutes. Jed still had time to have the last word before half time when Hamilton gave away a cheap penalty and Law took advantage to reduce the leeway to a half time score of Jed 12 Hamilton 16. Could a shock be on the cards?
Unfortunately not. The second half began brightly for Bulls whose defence was solid and still carried a threat in attack. However Jed were next on the score board in 52 minutes when Lewis Young gathered his own kick ahead to score in the corner. Then the forwards earned a penalty try as Hamilton began to tire, the early loss of 2 players clearly taking its toll. Young almost repeated his earlier try but Hamilton defended well and were next on the score board with a penalty from the boot of McLeish after the Jed hooker was sin-binned for foul play. Score 24 – 19, bringing Bulls within one score of Jed with 10 minutes to play.
Despite the numerical advantage, Bulls could not capitalise and it was Jed who had the final say with a try for Paulo to bring the final score to Jed 31, Hamilton 19. Coach Gemmell was both pleased and yet frustrated with the result. “We gave it a real shot today and our defence was solid. In attack we were also accurate and secure. We just did not have enough possession. Their lineout dominance really hurt us today.”