Super6: Ayrshire Bulls bounce back with big win over Boroughmuir Bears

Elias Caven claims a hat-trick in resounding victory at Millbrae

Elias Caven scored a hat-trick for Ayrshire Bulls versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: George McMillan
Elias Caven scored a hat-trick for Ayrshire Bulls versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: George McMillan

Ayrshire Bulls 49

Boroughmuir Bears 7

IAIN HAY @ Millbrae

PREVIOUSLY undefeated Boroughmuir had their third trip on the road in a row end in ignominious fashion as a ruthless, raging Bulls skinned the Bears.

Master of the understatement, Bulls head coach Pat McArthur said: “A good day’s work. I think Boroughmuir came down here with a lot of confidence with two bonus points so, we knew that if we started well, and started clinically, then we’d be in a good place.”

And they certainly did start well “well” and “clinically”. When an Adam Scott clearing kick bounced just the wrong side of the sidelines having been taken back into the Bears’ 22, Bulls couldn’t quite barge their way over, so instead went wider to Elias Caven, scoring his first of the afternoon with little over two minutes on the clock.


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The maul again was the root of the next score, although this time it was delivered with the hammer rather than the rapier, captain Blair Macpherson going straight through rather than around.

On a fine sunny day in Ayrshire, momentum started to swing to Bears, but when they first managed to get into the Bulls’ 22, they came away with nothing.

Scott didn’t quite have enough turbo to get past Aaron Tait on two occasions, the second time he had managed to ground the ball over the try-line, but the Bulls winger had forced him over the touchline first. Play was then called back to a penalty to Bears but, unlike the Bulls, when they went to touch they came away with nothing.

There was a rigidity to Bulls in defence and a fluidity in an attack led by first-time starter Richie Simpson in the stand-off position, the crafty Robert Beattie one place outside of him and the direct power of Jamie Shedden, and it was these three who really put Bears to the sword*.

When they couldn’t find space, they created their own. Simpson showed dazzling feet to get clear, and although unable to get past the last scrambling defender, the ball was moved wide to Caven who could’ve walked home. Backwards.

Where Bulls were clinical, Bears were profligate. A move starting on half-way looked like it might led to a scored but Scott – always getting himself involved in the Boroughmuir line – couldn’t throw the long(ish) pass out to Joe Jenkins accurately enough, allowing Bulls the time to retreat, then strip the ball and go onto score the bonus point try.

From turnover possession in their own 22, Beattie popped the ball out the back of his hand for Caven to come off his left wing and run onto. He took it through the middle, ruck speed and recycling was good, and within two phases, Shedden was galloping clear down the right before throwing a one-handed off-load for Tait to run home. As Indiana Jones might say: ‘It belongs in a museum.’

Shedden scored another just before the interval, throwing a dummy and then having enough pace to keep ahead of Callum Ramm and Jack Bergin to take it all the way home. And after a 10-minute breather, Shedden again broke the line to lay on the hat-trick for Caven. With every try converted, this took the score to 42-0.

 

No head coach worth their salt is entirely happy, and McArthur had a couple of things he’ll want to bring up in training on Monday.

“The boys will tell you I always find a way to have a moan! In the second half I think we got a little bit lost and started playing the scoreline rather than the performance. We were guilty of playing too much in our own 30. Credit to the boys, they defended their own try-line really well, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in the situation where we have to defend that much. If we stick to what we practice; we look good.”

Bears kept on plugging away but whenever they got close to the try-line, usually off the back of a penalty taken to the corner, there would be a knock-on to hand possession back to Bulls. On the hour mark, openside Trystan Andrews, a consistent performer, was forced off with a left-shoulder injury.

Replacement tight-head Marcus Goodwin did prevent the grannying, squeezing over the line once another maul had been stopped just short, but the Bulls and Caven had the last say, as he ghosted onto a looked-a-wee-bit-forward pass from Thomas Glendinning, then sent Liam McNamara under the sticks.

Coming off the back of two away wings, Boroughmuir Bears head coach Graham Shiel wasn’t overly disappointed after a third successive trip on the road brought a first defeat.

“Ayr’s a difficult place to come, we didn’t address the challenges that Ayr laid down to us and we got what we deserved,” he said. “I’ve got no complaints. we’ve never been a team in this competition who have had it easy. It’s a reality check of where we are, and us addressing what we need to do to move up and kick on.

“We allowed Ayr into parts of the pitch where we know they’re dangerous, and we didn’t capitalise when we were in their half so if you don’t take your chances when you’re afforded them you’ve only yourselves to blame.

“The fact we’ve had three games on the road wasn’t ideal, but if somebody had said to me before that we’d win two of those three, I’d have bit their hand off. All in all I’m happy in terms of what we’re doing but we have a long way to go to be competitive. It’ll be nice to get back to Meggetland.”

 

Teams –

Aryshire Bulls: Liam McNamara; A Tait, J Shedden, R Beattie, E Caven; R Simpson, J Lenac; A Nimmo, J Malcolm, M Scott, E Bloodworth, R Jackson, A Smeaton, T Brown, B Macpherson. Substitutes: J Drummond, W Farquhar, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, G Wilson, W Hunt, C Jones, T Glendinning.

Boroughmuir Bears: A Scott; C Ramm, R Kerr, T Lanni, J Jenkins; J Bergin, R Swan; B Sweet, C Tait, M McGinley, J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King, T Andrews, C Keddie. Substitutes: J Blyth Lafferty, C Smith, M Goodwin, I Carmichael, P Bogie, M Johnstone, C Anderson, T Brown.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

 

Scorers –

Bulls: Tries: Caven 3, Macpherson, Tait, Shedden, McNamara; Cons: Simpson 6, Hunt.

Bears: Tries: Goodwin; Cons: Bergin.

Scoring sequence (Ayrshire Bulls first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0; 26-0; 28-0; 33-0; 35-0 (h-t) 40-0; 42-0; 42-5; 42-7; 47-7; 49-7.

 

Player-of-the-Match: Bulls had contenders from 10-14 with Simpson performing well on his first start at this level, and Beattie outside of him was involved in everything, but for a hat-trick and vital contributions in two other tries, the most dangerous winger in the league, Elias Caven, takes the gold.

Talking Point: With a member of the front-row union in charge, it’s no real surprise Ayr’s power-game is spoken about as one of their weapons, but the subtlety and game-craft of Beattie at 12 is also a match-winner for them as he guided hot-prospect Simpson through his first start.


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About Iain Hay 60 Articles
New to the freelancing journalistic world as of August 2019, Iain has previously written for The Scottish Rugby Blog since 2017, covering matches for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland and opinion pieces. Can also often be heard on their podcast flapping his gums about the oval-ball (technically, it’s ellipsoidal) game and being pedantic. Is rumoured to believe that Finn Russell is The Messiah. Does the Twitter thing, but doesn’t like it.

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