Apr 14 2011 by Andrew McGilvray, Hamilton Advertiser
HAMILTON secured promotion back to Premier 2 with a hard-fought win over derby rivals Dalziel.
However, the Motherwell side will be bitterly disappointed not to take something from the game, having had the majority of the territorial advantage throughout the afternoon.
David Sutherland kicked off for Hamilton in the bright sunshine and the visitors immediately went on the attack, as Chris McLaughlin forced Dalziel’s Craig Lewis into touch.
Richie Maxton rose to pull in Grant McCowan’s lineout throw and Stevie Turnbull fed the backs, with Steven Morley seeking to exploit a gap when he was felled by a high tackle by Crawford Reid. Ross Inglis slotted the resultant penalty for 3-0.
From the restart Dalziel won a penalty but captain Craig Simmonds went for touch rather than a kick at goal and full-back Robert Simpson fired the ball out at the corner.
Lewis secured the lineout and Graham Calder fed ball along the backs.
James Baxendale chipped over the defence but Ross Inglis just managed to touch down ahead of John Goldie.
Dalziel dominated for a spell with Goldie making good breaks, well supported by Calder and John Harris, but solid defending kept them at bay and Simpson tried his luck with a drop-goal attempt which sailed wide and Hamilton cleared.
With 20 minutes gone Dalziel went on the attack again but Ash Mason intercepted and kicked ahead. Although Simpson won the race to deny him the try, Hamilton’s score was only delayed by a minute.
Craig Inglis collected the drop-out nad Mason tore into the Dalziel line, taking the game back to the home 22.
Fellow New Zealander Tamati Rhind and veteran Gerry Hawkes arrived in support and Turnbull fed left to Sutherland who cut back infield before supplying Craig Inglis, who made a terrific break before chipping the defence and racing through to collect the ball.
Drawing Simpson to the tackle he then offloaded to Mason, who ran in for the opening try of the match, with Ross Inglis tagging the points for a 10-0 lead.
Play raged from end to end as both sides looked for a solid break.
Dalziel’s scrum was causing problems for Hamilton and the hosts attacked until a free-kick award saw them tap and go and Simmonds got ball wide to Les McWhinnie who looked to have crashed over but was held up by the Hamilton defence.
Hamilton had to call on their reserves to prevent Dalziel from scoring and unsurprisingly conceded a penalty in a dangerous position, with Simpson slotting for 10-3 just before the half-time whistle sounded.
There was no less determination in the second period as both sides thundered into each other and at times tempers frayed.
Referee Ted Coutts kept a firm hand on things, however, and again play was raging from end to end.
Mason and Craig Inglis were making good breaks for Hamilton while Goldie and McWhinnie threatened for Dalziel.
The hosts were causing problems and when Simmonds and Steven Findlay broke from the scrum only a timely interception from John Selfridge prevented the Bulls from conceding a costly score.
Selfridge then offloaded to Morley who was taken high as he attempted to break forward, and again tempers boiled over in the middle of the pitch, resulting in Dalziel’s Harris being yellow carded.
However Hamilton found it difficult to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Selfridge and Turnbull combined to set Sutherland free, but Simpson cleared the danger, and the Dalziel man was in good form again to deny Chris Stannage a chance go break through.
Both sides missed penalty opportunities before McLaughlin set things up from a lineout for Mason to burst clear and he pulled in the last defender before offloading for Craig Inglis to crash over in the corner, with brother Ross converting despite the difficult angle.
With barely five minutes remaining Dalziel stepped up the pressure and were camped in Hamilton’s half, but with the prize within touching distance the Bulls weren’t going to let it slip and held out for a vital win. Dalziel, for their part, need a win to maintain Premier 3 rugby for another season and will hope to do so at home to Perthshire on Saturday.
UDDINGSTON Rugby Club still have tickets available for their annual Stag Dinner, which takes place in the clubhouse at Bothwell Castle Policies on Saturday at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
Guest speakers are Willie Young and SRU President Ian McLauchlan.
For more information call Dougie Belmore on 07730 540910