2006/2007: Scottish Premiership Two



A. Dodds15M. Dunn
N. Scullion14R. Watson
C. Sangster13I. Kennedy
A. Smith12A. Bulloch
G. Hawkes11N. Cassie
K. Diffenthal10J. Noonan
 R. Strydom9A. Miller
 J. Medlock1D. McKay
2D. Ziolo
3J. Welsh
R. Maxton4A. Williamson
A. Marshall5G. Harkness
B. Barsanti6A. Rennick
C. Thomson7S. Kearns
D. Gemmell8C. Forrester
I. Plenderleith16I. McKinnon
17J. Coffey
18G. Williamson
19 A. Boag
Gemmell, Marshall, StrydomTryBulloch, Miller
Diffenthal (2)ConNoonan
Diffenthal (3)PenNoonan (4)


With their win over Edinburgh Accies, Stewart’s Melville leapfrog GHA, who went down 28-24 to Hamilton at Leigh Bent.

Cheered on by a noisy home support, the Bulls played with a confidence that has so far been missing this season. Despite a strong wind at his back Kenny Diffenthal’s kick-off didn’t travel the required 10 metres, and GHA took the first scrum. However, Hamilton dealt with the early set-back, and quickly launched ball downfield.

Following attacks from both sides, GHA took the lead inside five minutes. Scrum-half Ali Miller cut through from halfway and released centre Iain Kennedy, who found Rory Watson. Watson raced fro the corner and although Allan Dodds managed to get in a try-saving tackle Miller arrived in support and cut through to claim the try and a 5-0 lead.

Hamilton were awarded a scrum as GHA contested Diffenthal’s restart, and a good pick-up at the base by David Gemmell was taken on by Bengy Barsanti. When the flanker was stopped, Richie Maxton, Craig Thomson and Ally Marshall were in support, winning a penalty as GHA went over the top.

Diffenthal calmly slotted the 35 metre kick, bringing Hamilton back into the game at 5-3. Hamilton took the lead five minutes later after GHA were penalised as they attempted to halt another forward drive. Diffenthal’s kick again sailed between the posts putting Hamilton 6-5 ahead.

Both teams played attacking rugby, with Alistair Smith for Hamilton and Iain Kennedy and Alan Bulloch all trying to break through. James Noonan had an opportunity to put GHA back in front after Barsanti was penalised for offside, but his kick drifted wide, and Allan Dodds collected before clearing. GHA No.8 Calum Forrester collected before it could go into touch and brought play back into the Hamilton half, but was well taken by James Medlock and David Gemmell.

Thomson and Barsanti secured ball, feeding Ron Strydom out wide, but the scrum-half’s kick ahead caught in the wind and was safely touched down behind by Martin Dunn. In Hamilton’s next attack, Gerry Hawkes was driven out near the corner and when Maxton disrupted Graham Harkness in the line, Ally Marshall secured ball for the Bulls. Medlock took the ball in and as the Hamilton pack drove over the line Marshall touched down.

Despite blustery conditions and a difficult angle Diffenthal’s conversion flew straight between the uprights and Hamilton led 13-5.Hamilton collected the restart and put into the GHA half, but the visitors brought the game straight back to them. From a lineout on the right Andy Williamson took the ball and Miller put it out to the backs. Allan Bulloch tried to cut outside Craig Sangster, and the Hamilton centre caught his opposition number in a high tackle, giving Noonan an easy penalty, cutting the deficit to 13-8.

Hamilton hit back from the restart and when Maxton was caught with the ball near halfway, GHA were again penalised for offside. Despite the infringement being only 3 metres inside the opposition half, Dodds indicated to the referee that Hamilton would go for goal, and Diffenthal again kicked for 16-8.

The second half started slowly, and Hamilton seemed to have lost the initiative when the ball was thrown in squint and GHA were awarded a scrum. But a tremendous drive forced GHA off the ball, Gemmell picked up at No.8, fed Strydom, who’s quick ball was taken by Diffenthal. With Alistair Smith offering outside, Diffenthal opted to cut inside and Niall Cassie’s tackle caught him short, but as he turned, Medlock arrived in support, driving further for the line. Martin Dunn’s tackle stopped the prop, but again Hamilton recycled and Strydom’s quick feed to Marshall allowed the lock to drive through for his second try, putting Hamilton 21-8 ahead seven minutes into the half.

GHA used strong running backs to test Hamilton’s defence, but the Bull’s were solid. Despite being over the line on two separate occasions GHA were forced to settle for five-metre scrums as Hamilton prevented the ball from being grounded. On the hour mark, Kennedy’s break was stopped by a Smith tackle in front of the posts. Hamilton’s pack were quick to the breakdown, but the referee awarded a penalty and yellow carded Bengy Barsanti. Noonan slotted the penalty, reducing the deficit to 21-11.

With Hamilton down to 14 men GHA tried to take advantage, and within five minutes Noonan had kicked another penalty, reducing the deficit to 21-14. Hamilton were then forced into a reshuffle with Diffenthal withdrawing through injury. Sangster moved to stand-off, Dodds joining Smith in the centre, and Ian Plenderleith coming on at full-back.

Sangster’s first restart didn’t go 10-metres, and GHA were awarded a scrum on halfway. Miller put the ball in and the eight-man GHA easily took the strike against the seven of Hamilton. But as Forrester picked up Strydom and Maxton hit him hard, with the former ripping the ball free and racing fully 45 metres to score under the posts. Sangster slotted the conversion for 28-14.

Noonan kicked a fourth penalty for GHA with nine minutes remaining, setting up another close finish. As the game moved into injury-time Bulloch broke through to feed Cassie who made it to the line but was held up. GHA took the scrum, and although Hamilton dsrupted Bulloch crashed through under the posts, with Noonan converting for 28-24.

Source: The Eastwood Extra & Hamilton Advertiser, Thursday 12th October 2006

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