The vote for the Man of the Match award following Bishopton Rugby’s demolition of league newcomers Bute on Saturday was split straight down the middle. Much to coach David Jackson’s delight the team as a whole played well, but there were two outstanding performers who made quite different contributions to the game. Captain John Lamb led from the front and was immense. He chased the ball like a man possessed all afternoon, tormenting the opposition in the tackle and stealing possession almost at will. He put his body on the line and was the first man on nearly every loose ball, and individually was responsible for many of the tries that were scored despite not registering any of the points himself. On the other side Michael Burke, playing out of position at full back, racked up an incredible 46 points with 6 tries and 8 conversions to his credit. This smashed the Bishopton record for individual points scored in a game by some margin and was a key component of the 81-20 victory against the island team.
One of the downsides to being a ‘family club’ is that school holidays have quite a big impact on the team and Bishopton travelled to Rothesay a bit weaker than hoped. Veteran Martin Rainey was again called out of retirement and filled in superbly at stand off, whilst another new recruit to the club, David Jack, made his club debut on the wing. Jackson was confident that the big Bishopton pack would manage to control enough of the ball to take some of the pressure off the backs – however with a combined haul of 66 points they quickly proved they didn’t need any special treatment.
The youngsters again showed their value, Ruairidh Salmon continuing his impressive form this season with three well-taken tries in the centre and Andy Evans on the wing scoring his first five points for the club. The forwards contribution to the score sheet was limited to two textbook tries from Number 8 Stevie Phillips from the back of the attacking scrum, and a typical front row try from 3 yards out by prop Chris Dunn.
This confidence-building win has lifted Bishopton to second in the league table, with the biggest test to come this weekend when they travel to Glasgow’s west end to take on league toppers Hyndland. The winner of this match is likely to be the leader at the halfway point of the season, although this shouldn’t be taken too seriously as the second half of the season typically requires a completely different set of skills as the weather turns cold and wet. There is a long way still to go yet, but Jackson seems to be pulling the right strings in the right order and confidence is steadily building in the village club. Anyone wanting to watch the Hyndland – Bishopton tussle should head to Scotstoun Stadium for a 3:00 kick-off, more details can be found on www.bishtonrugby.com