Super Series: Ayrshire Bulls consolidate top spot with big win over Boroughmuir Bears

Millbrae men stick to the game-plan, with emerging talent stepping up to the plate

Luca Bardelli moves the ball on for Ayrshire Bulls versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: Fred Palmer
Luca Bardelli moves the ball on for Ayrshire Bulls versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: Fred Palmer

Boroughmuir Bears 7

Ayrshire Bulls 48

COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland

AYRSHIRE BULLS bagged a bonus point win in the FOSROC Super Series, with most of the damage done in the second quarter when they claimed three tries and created a winning margin. Having established a significant lead, they kicked on to play some impressive rugby and, although Bears showed plenty of ambition, they were outgunned by the all-round power of the visitors.   

“We were really happy with the way we controlled the tempo. We know that they [the Bears] like to play unstructured rugby, so it was just about sticking to our structures, being patient with ball in hand and relying on our big boys to go through the middle”, said Bulls assistant Frazier Climo.

And of the contribution of the less experienced players in the squad, he added, “We’re really happy with the young boys, especially the ones who are new to Super Series. Fergus Johnston was outstanding off the bench, and we’ve got a fairly young back-three. Each week, they’re getting more confident.”

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The all-round strength in the Bulls side was too much for the hosts. Their coach Graham Shiel, said of his players: “They wanted to play, but we need to play in the right parts of the field. Last week we found a way to get into the opposition territory and we did well. Tonight, we were on the ropes a bit to start with – we lost a number of players this week.

“It’s a good level of competition and if you’re not at your best, you’re going to struggle. We have to find ways to get into games. At half-time I thought we were giving ourselves a bit of a chance to remain competitive. We were trying to find ways to close the gap but we were playing in the wrong part of the pitch.”

Bears started well but a series of penalties booted into touch in the opening minutes came to nothing. Bulls disrupted a line-out maul by the hosts and immediately capitalised, harvesting a try from their first attack. Jamie Shedden made the initial break and the ball was transferred wide via Luca Bardelli to Chris Elliot who freed Thomas Glendinning to dot down in in the corner.

Bears responded on 11 minutes when a chip ahead by Euan Muirhead bounced kindly for Josh Beveridge who showed impressive pace to race over. George Paul’s conversion handed the hosts a lead they deserved at that stage.

However, the tide was turning. A turnover deep into home territory created another scoring chance for Bulls, but Corey Tait and Mason Cullen combined to hold up Bobby Beattie over the line. There was no stopping Beattie in 23 minutes when a Bulls line-out created the platform for Tim Brown to feed the centre who cut an impressive line through the Bears’ defence to score. Brad Rodrick-Evans added the extras.

The gap grew to double figures five minutes later after another close-range line-out drive that ended with Grant Stewart plunging over for an unconverted score. And the bonus point came shortly before the interval when Beattie spied a hole in the home defence and chipped the ball into the space then won the race to the line, with Rodrick-Evans again converting to complete the first-half scoring.

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Bears survived a spell on the back foot after the restart before starting to chase the game in the final half hour. That made for some enterprising play executed at pace, but also left the hosts exposed to counter-attacks. A spillage allowed Bardelli to break away for the visitors and a penalty at an ensuing scrum enabled Christian Townsend to opt for the kick at goal to land the first points of the second half.

Bulls then killed off the game when Aminio Bogidrau was halted illegally just shy of the line and Johnston took a quick tap and dived over. Townsend stroked over the conversion. The visitors played the final 11 minutes with 14 men after skipper Macpherson was red-carded for a dangerous tackle but the numerical advantage was cancelled out when the hosts lost Joe Jenkins to the sin-bin.

Bulls finished on top, with Alex McGuire barging over, and Johnston bagged his second of the night. Townsend was on target with both conversions to complete the scoring.


Teams –  

Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead; M Cullen, J Jenkins, S Robeson (©), C Ramm; G Paul (A McLean 60 (C Anderson 73)), G Beveridge (B Clark 77), L Alessandri (B Sweet 46 (L Habib 74)), C Tait (Z Griffths 78), M McGinley (D Winning 46), M Loboda (I Carmichael 52), J Fisher, A Maitland, J King, K Westlake.

Ayrshire Bulls: L Bardelli; J Shedden, C Elliot, R Beattie, T Glendinning (A Bogidrau 65); B Rodrick-Evans (C Townsend 52), R Cullen (F Johnston 46); A Nimmo (A McGuire 46), G Stewart (R Tanner 46), C Miller (W Farquhar 46), E Hamilton-Bulger (O Baird 57), R Jackson, R Sweeney (M Leatherbarrow 68), T Brown, B Macpherson©.

Referee: Rob McDowell


Scorers – 

Boroughmuir Bears: Try: Beveridge; Con: Paul.

Ayrshire Bulls: Tries: Glendinning, Beattie 2, Stewart, Johnston 2, McGuire; Cons: Rodrick-Evans 2, Townsend 3; Pen: Townsend.

Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears): 0-5; 5-5; 7-5; 7-10; 7-12; 7-17; 7-22; 7-24 (h-t) 7-27; 7-32; 7-34; 7-39; 7-41.; 7-46; 7-48. .


Yellow cards –

Boroughmuir Bears: Jenkins


Red cards –

Ayrshire Bulls: Macpherson


Man-of-the-Match: There were many contenders on both sides, but Bobby Beattie earned the nod for his strong running and two try contribution.

Talking point: It was heartening to see strong performances from some of the younger players, with Tait and Bardelli among those who caught the eye.

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About Colin Renton 292 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!