Ayrshire Bulls lift the FOSROC Super6 silverware

Ayrshire Bulls lift the FOSROC Super6 silverware

Ayrshire Bulls won the inaugural FOSROC Super6 competition at Edinburgh’s DAM Health Stadium this afternoon accounting for Southern Knights in a compelling contest.

The match had a bit of everything, desperately close-run decisions in-goal, intensity in the contact areas and forward battle and some moments of class that, ultimately, were to prove decisive.

Though the FOSROC Player of the Match award went to Bulls’ stand-off Tom Jordan, who goaled 16 points and generally orchestrated the attack with aplomb, the club that in recent years has produced Gordon Reid, looks to have another quality prop on their books in George Thornton.

Quality footwork and a willingness to run at space rather than bludgeon an opponent from the former Wasps, Scotland U20 and Glasgow Warrior, was at the heart of the decisive score that saw the trophy head west. And for good measure Thornton made a crucial tackle in the closing stages too.

The game had an unfortunate ending as Ayrshire Bulls lock Tom Everard was red-carded for a dangerous hit on Jacob Henry, the Knights full-back. It appeared an act of poor-timing rather than overtly malicious but left referee Keith Allen with no option but to send him from the field.

Bulls looked to have the bit between their teeth right from the kick-off and struck first with a try off set-piece in the sixth minute. The half-backs linked off scrum ball going left and Tom Jordan threatened before throwing a long pass to Elias Caven who managed to aquaplane and muscle his way in for the try. A mighty close-run decision. Jordan converted from the touchline (0-7, 6 mins).

Southern Knights conceded too many penalties in the opening exchanges and from an offside on the 22, Jordan goaled (0-10, 10 mins).

As the first quarter neared its conclusion, a brilliant take by Knights tight-head Euan McLaren of a sloppy pass inside his own 22, hinted at better things, confirmed by a contact penalty secured by Ruaridh Knott.

Knights, indeed, thought they’d got their first points on the board, when Iain Moody stormed up the middle from Knott’s breakdown provision but a superb tackle by Matt Davidson, with support from Caven, denied the No 8. Fair play to referee Kevin Allen who got the decision spot on.

Another close call some five minutes later, this time with Bulls on the attack. Jordan’s cleverly weighted kick was pursued by Bobby Beattie but Henry pulled off a magnificent rescue to beat the centre to the ball. An offside advantage was being played and Jordan extended the Bulls’ lead with his second penalty. (0-13, 26 mins).

Harry Borthwick’s thumping run and the promptings of Nyle Godsmark set up an offside penalty for Knights and Jason Baggott was on the mark (3-13, 31 mins).

Another Bulls indiscretion at breakdown saw Baggot pull back three more points (6-13, 36mins).

The penalty pendulum had swung but Baggott’s decision to opt for touchline rather than sticks did not bear fruit as the Bulls secured a priceless turnover.

HALF-TIME: Southern Knights 6 Ayrshire Bulls 13

Knights began the second-half camped in Bulls territory. Borthwick rose highest at a lineout and the driving maul surged into action. It was derailed illegally by Bulls and Yaree Fantini was yellow-carded for his trouble.

Borthwick was the target at the subsequent lineout and there were a few close-range tilts before ball was released for Henry, Highland’s finest and another product of Scotland U20, to cut in for Knights’ first try of the day. It was Henry’s fifth try of the competition. Baggot converted to level the scores (13-13, 45 mins).

Still short-handed, Jordan restored Bulls’ lead with his third penalty, this time for a high tackle (13-16, 49 mins).

The game continued to ebb and flow, and hands in a ruck saw Baggot land his third penalty (16-16, 53 mins).

Fantini returned to the pitch to see the penalty ping-pong continue, this time Jordan on target (16-19, 57 mins)

Bulls were waxing strong at scrum time and from a penalty advantage they launched another attack.

Off breakdown possession, Thornton showed exquisite skill to step Murdo McAndrew and then beat one further defender to crash over for a glorious individual try. Jordan converted (16-26, 69 mins).

From the restart, Bulls scrum-half Jordan Lenac was carded for an off the ball obstruction and as Knights sought to exploit their numerical advantage, ball was moved left to Henry. He was hit high by Everard and required extensive medical attention before he was stretchered off the field. Everard was sent off.

Knights threw everything into the final few minutes but the Bulls were resolute and celebrated their success in front of their own ecstatic supporters.

FULL-TIME: Southern Knights 16 Ayrshire Bulls 26

Southern Knights: Jacob Henry; Patrick Anderson, Nyle Godsmark, Billy Wara, Sam Pecqueur ; Jason Baggott, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiells CAPTAIN, Fraser Renwick, Euan McLaren, Daniel Suddon, Angus Runciman, Harry Borthwick, Ruaridh Knott, Iain Moody

Subs: Russell Anderson, Shaun Gunn, Calum Crookshanks, Dalton Redpath, Allan Ferrie, Cameron Jones, Cameron Scott and Andrew Mitchell

Ayrshire Bulls: Matt Davidson; Aaron Tait, Robert Beattie, Tom Williams, Elias Caven; Tom Jordan, Jordan Lenac; George Thornton, Alex McGuire, Michael Scott, Edward Bloodworth, Tom Everard, Ryan Sweeney, Yaree Fantini, Blair MacPherson CAPTAIN

Subs: Rhodri Tanner, Ruairidh Sayce, Calvin Henderson, Rory Jackson, Gavin Wilson, Harry Warr, Christian Townsend and Gavin Lowe

Red-card: Tom Everard. Yellow-cards: Yaree Fantini and Jordan Lenac.

Referee: Keith Allen. Assistant referees: David Sutherland and Finlay Brown.

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