Super Series: Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ end Ayrshire Bulls’ winning run

Millbrae men remain top of the table but face a crunch clash away to Heriot's next weekend

Glasgow Warriors 'A' No 8 Jack Mann. Image: Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Glasgow Warriors 'A' No 8 Jack Mann. Image: Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Ayrshire Bulls 17

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ 24

DAVID BARNES @ Millbrae

THEY remain top of the Super Series Sprint table, and they will finish the weekend there unless Stirling Wolves win with a cricket score at Boroughmuir Bears tomorrow [Saturday] – but Ayrshire Bulls will not go through the season unbeaten as was the plan.

“I’ve done this for long enough now to know that you get highs and lows, and you just have to roll with it,” said Bulls head coach Pat MacArthur. “It wasn’t pretty. If you look at the first half, when you are defending for 30 minutes because you haven’t looked after the ball, you are making it hard for yourself. And they have quality throughout their team so they are going to punish you.

“But the boys stuck in there, then we started to play some rugby after the break, put some shape together and we looked dangerous again, but then just fell back into just being a bit too loose with the ball.


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The Millbrae faithful made it clear during the game that they felt they were not getting the rub of the green from the match officials, but MacArthur didn’t want to play the blame game. “I hate talking about referees because it is a tough place to be in the middle of the park,” he said. “You’ve got to question a few of the decisions, but that result wasn’t because of the referee. We should have been good enough to take that variable out of the game.

“It is going to be tight at the top now,” MacArthur concluded. “Heriot’s away next weekend [in the last round of the regular season] is going to be a hell of a game. We need to win it, which I go into every game saying. The boys will be disappointed after this but they’ll bounce back.”

It took less than five minutes for Bulls to grab the lead with Reiss Cullen sensing an opportunity on the left and sending  clever diagonal kick over the top which Luca Bardelli gathered on the bounce before cantering home unchallenged, but the visitors wasted little time bouncing back with Richie Simpson – back at Millbrae in Warriors colours just six days after his man-of-the-match performance for Bulls against Southern Knights – sending Jonny Morris over with a fine pass.

Warriors threatened to strike again when some crisp passing from Simpson, Fergus Watson and Kerr Yule, followed by a kick ahead from Duncan Munn, created an opportunity for Logan Trotter on the right, but the winger couldn’t quite gather the bouncing ball.

It was only a temporary hold-up to Trotter getting on the scoresheet with the former Stirling County man using his power to ride the final tackle then stretch over the line a short while later, after a surge in midfield from Watson had got the move rolling. With both kickers struggling off the tee on the heavy Millbrae pitch, there was once again no conversion leaving it 5-10 to the visitors with just under half an hour played.

Ben Afshar was next to threaten for the visitors but the scrum-half lost his footing with the last man to beat and Bulls won the penalty on the deck, but once again it was only a temporary hold-up for the scorer, with the scrum-half dotting down under the posts a few minutes later following a powerful burst from Munn. This time, Simpson had no problem adding the extras from bang in front of the posts.

 

 

That’s the way it stayed until half-time, but Bulls did recover their foothold in the match before the break, and then burst right back into the game early in the second period when skipper Blair Macpherson made good ground on a No 8 pick-up from a wheeled-crime on his own 10 metre line, supported by Lewis McNamara and Cullen, before replacement stand-off Chris Elliott timed his pass well to send Jamie Shedden through the sort of gap that the big winger-cum-centre is born to exploit.

However, Bulls were then almost immediately reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when full-back Marcus Kershaw saw yellow for a deliberate knock-on, and with Warriors’ all-international front-row bench having just joined the fray, the pro team set about  turning the screw again – until a brilliant line-out maul which took Bulls from inside their own 22 all the way to their 10-metre line relieved the pressure.

Bulls survived that period with a numerical disadvantage and no sooner had they returned to full complement than they drew level with Bobby Beattie reading the play as Warriors moved the ball off a line-out on halfway to execute the intercept and canter hoke unchalenged, setting up an easy conversion for Fergus Johnston.

Warriors moved ahead again when a period of pressure eventually created space on the left for Trotter to go over for his second, and Matthew Urwin – on for Simpson – defied the treacherous underfoot conditions to nail the conversion from wide on the left.

Bulls finished the match banging hard at the door, but couldn’t find a way through for the try which would have squared it.

“The boys did really well,” said victorious head coach Pete Horne. “This is always a tough place to come and Bulls hadn’t lost a game yet in this campaign, so it was a good acid test for the young lads against a high-quality, well-drilled, really physical team who were really motivated for this game.

This was Warriors’ last outing of the Sprint, and Horne was clearly relieved to have finished on a positive note.

“For the Boroughmuir game we were phoning around the houses trying to get a team on the day of the match so it wasn’t ideal, then we had all those head knocks and a host of injuries which meant the Stirling game being called off, but the fact that the main team don’t have a game this weekend helped,” he said. “The boys who came down were brilliant. Sintu Manjezi did a great job, Allan Dell too, so I’m really pleased for the young lads. They’ve lost a lot of games with the under-20s, and to Boroughmuir a couple of weeks ago, so you could see how much it meant to them.”

 

Teams –

Ayrshire Bulls: M Kershaw; T Glendinning (M Cullen 48), J Shedden, R Beattie, l Bardelli; D McCartney (C Elliot 41), R Cullen (F Johnston 48); J Drummond (C Miller 57), J Malcolm (A McGuire 48), C Henderson (R Tanner 47), E Bloodworth (O Baird 18), R Jackson, L McNamara, T Brown (S Rae 65), B Macpherson.

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’: F Watson; B Salmon (A Caqusau 65), D Munn, K Yule, L Trotter; R Simpson (M Urwin 52), B Afshar (S Kennedy 52); C Smyth (A Dell 45), A Fraser (G Stewart, 45), C Norrie (M Walker 45), R Burke (D Andrew 67), S Manjezi, R Hart, J Morris (M McCormack 75), J Mann.

Referee: Finlay Brown

 

Scorers –

Ayrshire Bulls: Tries: Bardelli, Shedden, Beattie; Con: Johnston.

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’: Tries: Morris, Trotter 2, Afshar; Con: Simpson, Urwin.

Scoring sequence (Ayrshire Bulls): 0-5; 5-5; 5-10; 5-15; 5-17 (h-t) 10-17; 15-17; 17-17 17-22; 17-24.

 

Yellow cards –

Ayrshire Bulls: Kershaw (48 mins)

 

Man-of-the-Match: Glasgow Warriors openside Jonny Morris scored his team’s opening try and was a muscular presence all over the park.

Talking point: Spare a thought for the stand side touch-judge who was given a rough ride by the home replacements and coaching team.


Super Series Saturday preview: Heriot’s v Southern Knights and Boroughmuir Bears v Stirling Wolves

About David Barnes 4001 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

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