Tries; Harry Seymour, Ruari Taylor, Alex Neil (2), Boab Moore, Stephen Hogan (2)
Conversion; Max Catto (5)
As the bus pulled out of Bishopton to take the team to Mull for the last away day of the season there was an air of tension amongst the squad. With several players having picked up injuries in recent weeks and other not being available for selection the squad was in many ways depleted from the regular 30 active bodies down to the legal 21 that are allowed to be named. This was on top of the knowledge that gaining a single point would seal promotion for the club and see them playing in West 2.
On Arrival on Mull and getting through the warm up the team were looking up for the challenge that lay before them. However, the game didn’t get of to the desired start as Catto’s kick-off didn’t get through the 10-meter line and it gave Mull the advantage of the scrum to get the game under way. This was quickly quashed as Bish soon got the ball back and moved fast and quickly up the pitch, quickly getting within 10-meters off the line. The constant pressure being put on the Mull defence soon built up as a penalty was awarder to Bish, the quick tap and crash was taken and Mull still stood strong. But then Bish started the spread the ball through their back line quickly moving across the pitch allowing for Seymour to burst onto the ball at pace and hit the perfect gap in the Mull line for the Clubs Player of the Year to slide in to open the scoring – Catto stepped up to slot the conversion and push Bish into a 0-7 lead.
Mull however hit back straight from the restart with their Flyhalf being able to slip through the Bish defence and taking advantage of the last man in the line slipping on some loose ground. Allowing the Mull man to run in the try, the conversion was pushed wide leaving Bish with the advantage. 5-7.
But Bish were quick to take notes on Mulls restart and were able to turn the ball back over on Mulls first attack. With Scrum- Half Taylor picking the ball and going from inside his own half, shaking off several defenders before he was able to break away and get in for his 19th try of the season moving him to 99 points the real question being would the Young Player of the Year get into the 100 club for the season. Catto again slotted the conversion to take Bish to a 5-14 lead.
There was soon a change in the dynamic of the game as a switch to uncontested scrums due to an injury to one of Mulls front row. But it soon played dividends to Bishopton as they were able to take advantage of the solid base to build off. With the forwards able to make a quick release from the scrum they were able to reach the next break down in huge numbers, this lead to Most Improved Player of the Year Alex Neil was able to get over the line with several of the other forwards behind him. Again, Catto added the extras. The score sitting at 5-21 to Bishopton one more score was needed to gain the bonus point.
Things soon took another bad turn for the hosts as after a series of penalties they received a yellow card for a very high tackle inches before the try line. This lead to a tap penalty 5 meters out from the line. Taylor took the tap and shovelled it to Neil who looked to be in for his second of the day but the Mull defence stood strong. They could not through for the second attempt however, as Bob Moore picked the ball up from the back of the ruck and bullied his way through 3 defenders to get himself and the ball over the goal line. This gave Bishopton the Bonus point and more importantly the single point that was needed to see them secure 2nd place in the league an promotion for next season. Catto lined up his conversion attempt and was unlucky to find the crossbar, 5-26 to Bishopton.
Mull were quick to take advantage of Bishopton celebrations as they recovered the ball from the kick-off and they were able to stride through several large gaps in the bishopton defence. With no one being near the attacking player the Bish would need to sharpen up if they were to see out the game as the winners of the match. The conversion was pushed wide cutting the deficit to 10-26. This soon lead to half time with bishopton looking to regather their composure and come out in the second half to secure the victory.
The second half started with a bustling run from Seymour gaining a huge amount of territory before Catto was able to add even more with the penalty coming. Off the back of the line out returning substitute Stephen Hogan was able to take advantage by blowing through the gap in the line to touch down for a try on his return. Catto again added the conversion, 10-33. Straight from the kickoff though there was a sense of Deja-vu as Bish won the ball back it was again passed to Hogan who was able to glide through the Mull defence for his 2nd of the game Catto again made the kick, 10-40 Bishopton.
Bishopton were again on the attack from the off with several phases of moves being put into play. But it was the dominant second row Neil that got the decisive bit of the ball as he collected 10 meters out and was able to cut another line that he has become well know for this season. With this he sealed his 4th try of the year and 2nd of the game, by launching himself over the line. Catto’s conversion was caught in the wind and pulled wide leaving the score at 10-45. From here it was Mull that would see out the end of the game however as they took advantage of a jubilant Bishopton side and they were able to play some nice rugby in the closing minutes. As they worked their way closer to the line their patience and persistence paid off as they were able to work round the side of a ruck and pounce over to pull five points back 15-45. They were not done there as they straight from the restart were able to go on the hunt once more as the clock went red and Bishopton were given some fortune in that the ball went loose and into the dead ball area allowing fullback Peter Rainey to touch the ball down and the referee blowing for full time.
This gave Bishopton the bonus point victory and caped off a fine display with Captain and Team Player of the Year Bruce Abernethy picking up his 4th Man of the Match of the season and pushing him to the top of that table with one game left to play against the University Medics on the 12th of May.
As a final note we would like to give a huge thanks to Mull for hosing us on for the game and the after-match hospitality on a very long day out. Also a huge thanks for transporting our entire team and traveling support back to the ferry terminal after the game allowing us to make the boat off the island.
There may also have been a little bit of a party on the ferry home….