Dominant second half come-back fails to secure points for West

This was West’s first competitive game of the new seasn and despite losing 38-21 to Hamilton, the Burnbrae outfit put in a good account of themselves.

Hamilton’s Laigh Bent ground was dry and sunny but the early exchanges were cagey and handling was initially a bit rusty from both sides. Hamilton scored after a speculative chip down the wing was not cleared and touched down unconverted 5-0.

The rest of the half followed a monotonous pattern. West were penalised for technical offences 13 times, Hamilton always kicked to touch and attempted a driving maul, which most of the time West defended. In the middle of all this, Hamilton out half Owen McLeish - who has been a thorn in West’s flesh many times in the past - found a gap to score and converted his own try, 12-0. Darren Allen was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on, after which Hamilton found an overlap to score, this time converted, 17-0. Hamilton’s scrum half Martin Kennedy then scored from a tap penalty, converted by McLeish, 26-0 and West lost another man as Stuart MacDonald was sin binned.

Down to 13, West shipped another try after half time when a break off the scrum found a hole in the defence, this time not converted, 31-0. Hamilton then found another hole in the West defence from a free kick to score, converted, to make it 38-0.

West may have been tempted to give up, but this was far from the case. With a full 15 on the field the rest of the match was dominated by them.

Angus Thomson was held up just short of the line after a break by Richie Tran but West then won the scrum against the head and drove over the line to score. Blair Smith converted to peg the score back to 38-7.

West’s scrum totally dominant and a series of Hamilton collapses gave West a penalty try, converted by Blair Smith to make it 38-14. Things got better again when after a sweeping move Scott Hunter scored under the posts. Time was running out so he drop kicked to convert his own try for the final score of 38-21.

West: MacDonald, Henderson, Love, Milliken, Harley, Sharkie, Allen, Thomson, Tran, Smith, Cochrane, MacAulay (c), Hunter, Carnegie, Cuthbertson. Replacements: Burke, Jenkinson, Sim, Carnegie, McClymont.