Uddingston Rugby Club got their competitive season underway last Saturday at Bothwell Castle Policies with a comprehensive 34-17 win against Birkmyre of Kilmacolm in the first round of the RBS Regional Bowl competition.
Both teams displayed a high level of determination and it was a fast paced game. However, the home side always looked more in control and enjoyed most of the territorial advantage. Despite winning by a good margin, the Villagers could have easily added to their tally if they had been a bit more accurate in their ball handling and finishing.
With just two minutes played, it was Birkmyre who put first points on the board from a well taken penalty by Peter Rankin giving the visitors a 3-0 opener.
Just five minutes later, Uddingston edged in front from a try by Andy Low. Having secured possession in midfield, Stuart Beresford took the ball forward, slipping it to Keith Bradley who was fouled. Low took the quick penalty and charged the final 10 metres through a weakened Birkmyre defence to touch down in the corner. The conversion went wide, but the Villagers had a narrow 5-3 lead and they remained in front for the rest of the game.
As both sides battled to stamp their authority on the game, it took the Villagers until the 31st minute before they were able to increase their lead. The visitors were put under pressure from a strong attacking move by the home side and following a series of passes, the ball was once again in the hands of Andy Low. With good support, Low continued down the wing to go over near the corner for his second try of the game. The conversion was again off target, but Uddingston now enjoyed a 10-3 lead.
The Villagers were playing with a high degree of confidence and continued to dominate and dictate the pace of play. In the 38th minute, the home side moved strongly once again into Birkmyre’s territory and the ball found its way to Donald Haldane on the wing. Haldane then hot footed it to the line, outpacing the opposition’s defence to secure Uddingston’s third try. No luck with the conversion, but the home side had extended their lead to 15-3 and this was how the score remained until half time.
Following the break, Birkmyre continued to compete in a spirited manner, but the Villagers managed to contain their advances.
In the 45th minute, Uddingston stretched their lead following a scrum just 5 metres out from the visitors line. With the Villagers putting in the ball, Stuart Beresford picked up, fed the ball quickly to Andy Low who slipped it to Tom Hughes enabling him to surge forward to go over the line. Substitute, Craig Kirkland was on target with the conversion, taking the score to 20-3.
A further twenty minutes elapsed before the visitors were able to secure their first try of the game. Solid pack pressure moving forward, coupled with good ball control provided Jonny Harris with an opportunity to break through the home side’s defence to touch down at the posts. Fraser Campbell slotted the conversion, narrowing the score to 20-10.
Within minutes, the Villagers were back on the visitor’s 22 metre line
and good pace by Stuart Martin saw him take the ball over the line near the posts. Kirkland was once more on target with the conversion, widening the point’s gap to 27-10.
In the 75th minute Birkmyre secured their second try of the game in a somewhat opportunistic manner. The ball was loose on the wing and as Stuart Beresford attempted to recover it, he stumbled and the ball bounced away just inches from his grasp. Lawrence Smith was also running for the loose ball and managed to kick it on then collect it and take it forward unopposed the final 5 metres to the posts. Peter Rankin converted the try and the score now stood at 27-17.
Following some frantic play in the visitors half, the final try of the afternoon went to the home side just before full time. Ross McKeown came into possession 10 metres out and made a dash for the line. He just managed to touch down and Kirkland rounded off the afternoon with a well taken conversion giving the Villagers a well deserved 34-17 win.
Round 2 of the Bowl Competition will take place on 24th September when Uddingston will play host to Isle of Arran.
The league season league begins this Saturday (03/09) and Uddingston start their campaign with an away game at Clydebank. Kick off 3pm.
Uddingston’s 2nd XV squad were also involved last Saturday in a friendly against Garnock who are a National 1 club. Despite being up against very stiff opposition the squad competed to the best of their ability and put in a good effort going down 56-5.
The Villagers try scorer was James Brown, in the closing minutes of the game.