West of Scotland suffered a resounding defeat in their second BT National League Division 2 match of the new season on Saturday.
They went to Hamilton for the first away league game of the season with a reasonably strong team, with some new recruits but some old stalwarts yet to reappear.
Conditions were near perfect - sunny with some showers - as West looked to follow up their opening day win over local rivals GHK.
Hamilton dropped down from the second tier last season so it was difficult to know what to expect, although they have always been strong opponents in the past.
It turns out they are still pretty good.
They scored immediately with an overlap finding full-back Andy Wilson in the corner to score unconverted.
Another good overlap then saw winger Ross Inglis score in the same corner, the try this time converted by Owen McLeish. It was 12-0 and West hadn’t had time to draw breath.
However West hit back and pushed back at the Hamilton defence; the first attempt didn’t go to hand but Robbie Greenhalgh broke through the defence to score, converted by Pete Burns to make it 12-7.
Would West claw matters back? No.
Hamilton scored with yet another overlap, this time from flanker Robert Brown. The conversion was missed but the Hamilton centre then found a massive gap in the West defence to score under the posts, duly converted by McLeish.
The score was now 24-7, and the hosts had their try bonus.
Yet another overlap saw Hamilton flanker Charlie Craig score in the corner, converted by McLeish, then winger Inglis scored again, converted by McLeish once more to make the half-time score 38-7.
West hit back hard after half-time and dominated the next quarter. Danny Dineen scored from a pushover try, unconverted, then a good West break saw Greenhalgh tear through the Hamilton defence to score, Burns converting.
That brought the score to 38-19 and West were looking for at least a losing bonus.
Sadly it was not to be. West ran out of steam and Inglis scored his hat trick, converted by McLeish, before Charlie Grey scored unconverted off the back of a driving maul, unconverted.
Wilson scored in the corner unconverted and then Brown added two tries after passing moves to bring in his hat-trick.
McLeish converting the 2nd to make the final score 67-19.
Not what West wanted, but if the defence can be fixed, this is still potentially a good team. Some work will be needed, but Hamilton’s attack was excellent and they will test many teams in this league.
This Saturday West are at home to Whitecraigs.