Impressive Bulls 7s side dubbed the ‘surprise package’ of Hawick 7s
The day started with a long and windy journey down into the heart of the Scottish Borders, to a very sunny but cold Mansfield park.
With some confidence building after a good first outing at Haddington last week the boys were optimistic (whilst many others weren’t) at our chances for an opening round win against Selkirk.
1st Game Hamilton vs Selkirk
After a shortened warm up due to schedule changes, we kicked off against a Selkirk side who were extremely impressive the week before at Melrose. Their quality showed early on with their danger man Tythan Adams scoring early on, and it would be fair to say that many in the stands were preparing for a cricket score in favour of the Borderers. However, the young bulls were quick to respond, and after some nice work at the line out, the ball was reversed back to Adam Ryan, who beat his man on the outside, before rounding the sweeper to score. The easy conversion was missed by Ryan, which almost came back to haunt the Bulls at full time.
Hamilton began to dominate possession and it wasn't long before Adam Ryan broke the Selkirk defence once more and played the ball wide to John Rogerson, who used great feet to suck in the final two defenders before giving a lovely offload back to Ryan who went in for his second of the match. The wide conversion was missed.
Halftime score, Selkirk 5 - 10 Hamilton
The second half started as the first had ended, with Hamilton dominating possession. After a couple of minutes of sustained pressure, Ben Plant found a gap on the wing, breaking through before using some great showmanship to leave the sweeper in no mans land and score in the corner. Again the conversion from wide was missed.
Selkirk, however, were not going down without a fight, and replied almost immediately, with Adams once more using his electric pace to find a hole in Hamilton defence, before stepping the sweeper to go under the sticks for a converted try.
With the match in the balance, Scott Alexander played a lovely cross field kick into the corner, and Adam Ryan was able to beat his opposite man into the corner to 'controversially' touch down for his hat trick.
Selkirk had one last chance to score in the final play of the game, but a brilliant cover tackle from Alexander dislodged the ball from the Selkirk player’s hands to end the game.
Final score Selkirk 12 - 20 Hamilton.
This result set up a tie against Kings of the 7s leaders Watsonians, who had put Melrose to the sword in their opening game.
2nd Game Hamilton vs Watsonians
Watsonians are a hugely experienced team, boasting extreme pace and physicality, which proved to be too much for the young Hamilton side. Hamilton were only able to gain possession for a mere minute or two in the first half, with Watsonians dominating possession through great work from ex-Bull Rory Steele at the kickoff. The second half was a lot brighter from the Bulls, and after some great interplay from Alexander and Ryan, Robert Brown was able to touch down for the consolation try to end the game.
Final Score Watsonians 49 - 7 Hamilton.
As much as this was a very sore loss to take, it was at the hands of an exceptional Watsonians team, who went on to lose in the final to Gala. Playing against teams of this calibre will only help our young team improve, and allows us to see what it takes to compete with the premier teams of Scottish 7s.
Thank you to Hawick Rugby Club for inviting us to their tournament, it always is an absolute pleasure to play in such a historic tournament, and we are grateful for the opportunity.
There also must be a mention for our captain of the day John 'Nandos' Rogerson, who played his final minutes for Hamilton. John moved over from Portugal almost 4 years ago now to study at UWS, and has become a huge part of the playing squad over this time. With his dancing feet and Portuguese flair, he has become a crowd favourite at Hamilton and will be missed by all. Rugby playing aside, John has well and truly become part of the Bulls family, and I'm sure all the players would agree that not only is he a great teammate, but also a cherished friend, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours, wherever that may lead him.