Hamilton Bulls 2xv travelled to Malleny in a bottom of the table clash against Currie Chieftains. Both teams looking at the game as a must win in order to have a chance of saving relegation.
For Hamilton, the fight started much earlier than 3pm on Saturday afternoon. They were faced with multiple players being forced to pull out of the game on Friday afternoon, followed by a further two on Saturday. Though the strength and depth of the Hamilton Rugby Club pulled through: two players were moved from the ‘27s and one player returned from a few months out, as soon as two hours before kick off, into the match day squad to allow Hamilton to travel with 17 players.
The game started off well for Hamilton with a try from Stephen Turnbull under the posts and then a team try finished off with a fantastic piece of individual running from Neil Kennedy. Both conversions were secured, including one bouncing in off the upright, by Russell Virtue to put the Bulls ahead by 14 going into the half.
HT Currie Chieftains 0-14 Hamilton Bulls
Currie started the second half strongly and within 15 minutes they had brought the game back to 14-14 through strong carries from their forward pack that had dominated most of the set piece. Hamilton knew that they had to push the game out of reach to halt the Currie momentum. Hamilton looked to the boot of captain Russell Virtue who slotted two penalties in quick succession to put the Bulls ahead by 6 with less than 20 minutes to go. The pressure applied by Hamilton through some hard fought defence meant that Currie could not recover from the deficit. The final nail was struck by an outstanding try from Daniel McRoberts, set up by a left-footed crossfield kick from brother Dominic McRoberts and a sliding offload from Euan Whelan that would not look out of place on Dancing On Ice. The conversion was added again by Virtue to put Hamilton ahead by 13.
Hamilton got two more opportunities to add more points to the board through the boot of the captain, although they were just pushed wide of the posts. However Hamilton were already too far ahead and the final whistle blew shortly after sealing the win.
FT Currie Chieftains 14-27 Hamilton Bulls
Man of the Match - Stephen Wright
A commendation must be given to every single player that pulled on the 2xv shirt on Saturday. After all that happened before the match in the attempt to secure players and with the pressure added by the threat of relegation, the effort put in by everyone was immense.
Hamilton now look to move on to play against Stirling County 2xv at Laigh Bent on 3rd March in what could be the game that can seal Hamilton’s place for a fourth year in a row in the top league in reserve team rugby in Scotland. Let’s get as much support as we can down to watch the ‘super twas’ in two weeks time!
Match report by Scott Whiteside