Super Series Sprint: Boroughmuir Bears break duck with win over Ayrshire Bulls

Ferocious defence is key to home success

Boroughmuir Bears try-scorer Corey Tait gets ready to launch an attack versus Ayrshire Bulls. Image: Steve Langmead
Boroughmuir Bears try-scorer Corey Tait gets ready to launch an attack versus Ayrshire Bulls. Image: Steve Langmead

Boroughmuir Bears 29

Ayrshire Bulls 21

COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland

BOROUGHMUIR BEARS posted their first win of the FOSROC Super Series Sprint competition with a performance that was brimming with character against a previously unbeaten Bulls side. Both teams deserve credit for serving up an entertaining encounter with line ups that included a clutch of rising stars.  

The key to Bears’ success was a stunning defensive performance in the closing stages when Bulls were relentless and that effort drew lavish praise from home coach Graham Shiel.

“Against the odds we played incredibly well,” he said. “The heart, the desire, the hunger that the guys showed was outstanding. There was some good accuracy in that and we were the better team.”

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Of the result, he added: “It means a lot to the guys and I think that showed. It’s been a tough two weeks for us against good opposition and to try to get something out of this one was a big ask. This is the first time we’ve beaten Ayrshire Bulls so it’s another one ticked off and that’s good.”

His Bulls counterpart Pat MacArthur insists that lessons will be learned. “It’s about looking at what we can control – the discipline, effort and speed off the deck. It wasn’t there,” was his view. “We are going to lose games. We don’t panic, we stick by what we’re good at and that doesn’t change. We come back next week. We don’t like losing but we did, so we regroup.”

Bears made their intentions clear from the outset and struck the first blow after four minutes. Trystan Andrews broke from just inside the Bulls half and, with support both inside and outside, opted for the latter, where Scott McGinley took the pass and powered in at the corner.

The hosts retained the upper hand and came close to driving over from close range. The surge was halted illegally but a squint throw at the ensuing line-out offered Bulls a reprieve.

The visitors used that escape to pay a first visit to home territory. It yielded a penalty and Antony Fitch despatched the ball into touch. Rory Jackson gathered the throw then sparked a drive that ended with Grant Stewart forcing his way over. Fitch was on target with the conversion to edge Bulls into the lead.

The pace of the Bears’ attack was posing problems and Bulls were fortunate to concede only three points after Andy McLean landed a penalty when another touchdown had looked to be on the cards.

Having started slowly, the visitors started to click through the gears and a series of attacks ended with Jamie Shedden slicing through the home defence to dot down. Fitch again added the extras.

Bulls were now firmly in the ascendancy and a string of penalty awards were kicked into touch, the referee had warned the home side, and when Corey Tait offended at the next line-out, he was yellow-carded. Bulls profited immediately from the extra man when Kerr Yule unlocked the home defence for try number three. Fitch maintained his flawless kicking record for a 13 point lead.

However, by half time, Bears had struck back through a try by Martin McGinley who blasted his way over from close range after a multi-phase attack. McLean’s conversion cut the deficit to six points at the break.

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Bears restarted strongly and Tait marked his return from the sin-bin by applying the final touch to a lin-eout drive, with McLean’s conversion edging the hosts in front.

The gap grew after an hour when multiple penalties allowed Bears to apply sustained pressure to the Bulls defence which remained firm until another surge allowed Tait to plunge over for a second time, bagging the bonus point score. McLean again converted.

Jack Fisher was held up over the line as the pressure on the Bulls line continued but the home tally remained unchanged. And the visitors eventually broke out then started to chase the game, applying relentless pressure for the final 10 minutes. However, the home defence was equal to the task, tackling relentlessly to leave the visitors empty handed.


Teams –

Boroughmuir Bears: C Ramm; M Cullen, K Johnston (A Thom 66), S Robeson, J Jenkins; A McLean, R Swan (A Allan 68); I Carmichael (B Sweet 70), C Tait (B Young 68), M McGinley (M Goodwin 61), J King, J Fisher, C Keddie©, S McGinley, T Andrews (K Westlake 60).

Ayrshire Bulls: L Bardelli (S Watson 70); J Shedden, B Beattie (C Elliot 4 (L McNamara 46)), K Yule, T Glendinning; A Fitch, R Cullen; W Farquhar (A Nimmo 21), G Stewart (B Jardine 40), C Miller (C Henderson 40), E Bloodworth, R Jackson, R Sweeney (E Hamilton-Bulger 62), T Brown (G Baird 46), B Macpherson©.

Referee: J Perriam



Scorers –

Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: S McGinley, M McGinley, Tait 2; Cons: McLean 3; Pen: McLean.

Ayrshire Bulls: TriesL Stewart, Shedden, Yule; Cons: Fitch 3.

Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 8-7; 8-12; 8-14; 8-19; 8-21; 13-21; 15-21 (h-t) 20-21; 22-21; 27-21; 29-21.


Cards: Yellow –

Boroughmuir Bears: Tait


Man-of-the-Match: Numerous contenders in the home ranks, with Andy McLean looking good at stand-off and Corey Tait bagging two tries, but the all round efforts of Jack Fisher earned him the nod.

Talking point: Boroughmuir’s open style provides great entertainment, but on this occasion it was the ferocious defensive effort in the final 10 minutes that saw them home.

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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!