Tries; Harry Seymour, Ruari Taylor, Ryan Moore, Gary Clark
Conversion; Max Catto (3)
After a long summer break and a lot of hard work in the off season, The Bish were finally back to league action and ready to take on the challenge that came with promotion to Tennent’s West Regional Division 2 and the team’s first opponents came in the form of Helensburgh RFC who had been relegated from West 1 last season. With this knowledge The Bish knew going into the game that the opposition were going to be tough to overcome, but there was a confidence about the team in the pre-match warm up.
Bish received the honours of taking the kick off and getting the game underway and that they did, Helensburgh took up the first attack but Bish soon had the ball back in possession and started to make the yards with direct running. Captain Seymour soon took advantage as Bish got inside the 22, he picked the ball up at pace and was able to find a glaring gap in the Helensburgh defence and slide over the try line in just over 2 minutes. Catto as always stepped forward to take the conversion but it wasn’t to be for the first kick of the season as the ball drifted wide of the posts. Bish take the first blood to 0-5.
But Helensburgh were not about to sit back and let the visitors dictate the terms of the game so early on. Within another two minutes they were back in control after the sending the restart up into there air. Coming off the back of a ruck the Burgh back line went straight to quick hands were the inside centre was able to break through a tackle in the Bish midfield and brush off a tackle. The man then ran the ball in from 22 meters to dive down between the posts. The conversion was good and the hosts had the lead 7-5.
The next 10 minutes were very much a case of the two teams settling down and going about the business on the park and feeling the opposition out. But with this the teams when to the playbooks in the backs and both teams were showing a little rust with multiple knock-on’s and being pinged by the referee for not releasing in the tackles – with the number of scrums on the increase there was a clear advantage seen in the Bishopton pack. As on average the Bish scrum were making 5 meters and wining possession back or forcing the Burgh scrum half into speeding up his link in with the backs. This became evident as Bish pushed further towards the try line once more, the reward soon came as Bish were unfortunate to drop the ball over the line resulting in another Burgh scrum. But with the dominance that Bish had been showing they took full advantage. Starting on the 5-meter line Burgh were left a meter away from the try line when their scrum half popped the ball to the first receiver hastily, but Bish scrum half Taylor had read the move perfectly and was up for the tackle straight away. But the man with the ball had not anticipated the quickness of Taylor or the ball coming and Taylor was able to wrestle the ball away from him on the right side of the try line for Bish and as soon as he had it he went straight to ground to take the 5 points and continue his sublime scoring record that saw him take home 99 points last season. Catto managed to get himself on the board this time as the conversion floated over the post to make the score 7-12 to the Bish.
After the restart there was a period of back and forth with kicks from hand and again more scrums that Bishopton dominated, but in this period the lineout came into play and again all of the hard work that the Bish had put in here was clear to see. The penalties were coming into play and Bish got that chance to take advantage but it was just too far for Catto. But the Bish forwards decided from the 22 drop out that they were not going to let the back have all the fun! The second row got things under way from the halfway line with Haldane collecting the high ball and making good ground before being brought down. The pop went up to the returning Clark who has on occasion been known to power his way though a defence and it took three Burgh men to bring him down. But no sooner than was he down was galloping number 8 Baird at his heals, who was able to avoid 2 men with his sleek foot work before another two were needed to bring him to ground. It was at this point that hooker and last seasons 2nd top try scorer Ryan Moore came in at the back of the ruck to collect the ball. He took the last 5 meters with the support of several players pushing through a three-man defensive pod, where he was able to force himself to the ground to get Bish’s third try of the day. Catto made the extras to take him to 4 points for the day leaving the score 7-19 and with this came the break for halftime.
Going in 2 tries down at the break seemed to give Helensburgh the much-needed boost that was needed to have them come out fired up in the second half. As for the first 10 minutes of the second half they were able to dominate possession. And then in the space of 4 minutes they were able to pull level with the Bish with two quick fire tries and a bit of luck to help them. As Bish started to come back into the game Burgh looked to clear their lines with a kick to the wing, with the chase on by both the opposing wingers Bishopton’s Peterson looked set to secure the ball after it landed but the ball took an unpredictable bounce straight into the attacking mans hands leaving an easy canter to get under the posts. The conversion was again good leaving the score 14-19.
The third Burgh try was almost identical with the playmakers in the team seeing an opportunity to again chip into the open space in the Bish back field this time however the was no awkward bounce but rather just open space due to the Bishopton back three being stretched. With them Helensburgh man taking the change to run in and dot down. The conversion would have taken Burgh 2 points clear, but it wasn’t to be leaving the score level at 19-19.
In days gone past Bishopton may very well have let their heads drop at this being the case. But the drive and focus are not something that is lost to easily these days by the squad. It was Clark that took the bulls by the horn when Bish were able to turn the ball back over after the restart. Collecting the ball at half way he was only going to stop at the try line and this was evident in the 3 men that he shook off in his run into the 5-meter channel and then going through the last man who stood no chance at stopping the second row with the momentum that he had built up in his thunderous run. This secured the try bonus for the Bish and Catto was able to fire the conversion over to make the score 19-26.
But there was still 30 minutes of the game to see out but neither team would cross the white was again but instead both teams tightened their respective defences up and were able to see out the match. But you could see from Bishopton that had Helensburgh given them the opportunity there could have been more tries for the taking.
Full time soon sounded. Leaving Bishopton the victors at 19-26, Clark picked up the Pride of the Clyde Man of the Match award this week for his returning efforts around the pitch and in scoring his try. Boab Moore picked up the Lorimers Glue Player this week for his dominance at scrum time and his carrying into contact at the gain line.
Next week sees a return to action at Holmpark with Millbrae coming to visit and they will be looking to bounce back from a 10-89 defeat at the hands of Uddingston. But the Bish will be looking to keep the momentum going from this week and secure another victory!
All Photos credit Siân Neil