It was a perfect day for running rugby and the pitch was in great order down at KG5 playing fields for the first derby match of the season between Renfrewshire clubs Renfrew and Bishopton.
Coach David Jackson was unavailable so Bishopton managerial duties for the day passed to assistant coach John Ferguson, he had his work cut out for him as not only were the visitors again without a number of key players but most of the team were held up by traffic in Renfrew only making it on to the pitch a few minutes before kick-off.
Renfrew didn’t take long to signal their intentions to the unprepared visitors and spent the first 10 minutes pummelling the defence with their big runners. Bishopton somehow weathered the attack and then turned the table with a great solo try by #8 Stevie Philips. Renfrew had been dominant in the scrum but this ended when veteran prop Andy McDade was forced to leave the pitch. At the next scrum Bishopton turned over the ball, Phillips making no mistake picking the ball from the back of the scrum and driving 15 yards to score. Alan Lees converted the try, 7-0 to Bishopton.
With the scrum now stabilised Bishopton had a much better platform to work from. The young backs, growing in confidence every week, started to fling the ball about and it wasn’t long before a sustained series of attacks split the defence enough to allow ‘Man of the Match’ flanker Kevin Mason in for a try down the left side of the pitch, conversion missed. The hosts were stung into action and the remainder of the half was a brutal display of big tackles on charging runners – no quarter asked or given. The score remained locked at 12-0 until the half-time whistle was blown.
The coaches’ talks at half time must have been similar in both camps – the deadlock had to be broken quickly and to do this the pattern of the match had to change. Bishopton were obviously paying attention as straight from the kick-off the ball was moved out fast to young winger David Adams who ghosted around his opposite man and found the ever-present Kevin Mason on his inside waiting for the scoring pass. One minute into the second half and the score was 19-0. Bishopton’s tails were up and the four-try bonus point whispers were heard for the first time.
It took another 5 minutes for this to happen, young David Adams scoring a sublime try on the right wing in his second game for the club. From a clean lineout on the left the ball was quickly moved through the hands to reach Adams in the centre of the pitch, he again showed a superb change of pace and a clean pair of heels as he slid past the remaining Renfrew backs.
This was followed quickly with a final Bishopton try of the day from centre Ruairidh Salmon who caught a wayward clearance kick and danced through the fractured Renfrew defence untouched to score – Alan Lees converted all three of the second-half tries to bring the score to 33-0.
Full credit must go to Renfrew who never lost their ambition - and in the closing minutes this paid off for them with a consolation try. A heated exchange 25 yards from the Bishopton line resulted in a penalty which the Renfrew scrum-half pounced on – his quick reactions caught the entire Bishopton team by surprise as he flicked the ball to the big #8 who battered his way over the line. The try was not converted, final score was 33-5 to Bishopton.
All in all it was a satisfactory day for Bishopton who will be pleased with the result but also have a lot to work on in training. The team will be looking forward to the return of some of their ‘big guns’ this weekend for the home match against league leaders Lanark, 3:00 kick off at Holmpark in Bishopton.