Callum Kerr @ Millbrae

The Ayrshire Bulls bowed out of the FOSROC Super Series era as the competition’s most decorated side, with a Sprint final triumph over Stirling Wolves at Millbrae. In a repeat of the Championship finale last October, the Bulls delt revenge to secure their third trophy (two sprint’s and one championship), appearing in five of the six total finals.

 After a sluggish start that found them 21 points adrift at the break, Wolves battled back in the second half to make a go of it, but a late Jamie Shedden try wrapped up a 33-19 victory for Pat MacArthur’s men.

(Photo – George McMillan)


The game started at a frantic pace. For the Wolves, Craig Jackson sent some probing kicks behind the line which looked troublesome, but when one found the covering Richie Simpson, he needed no invitation to slip through the scattered defence and launch up the field.


Moments later the Bulls opened their account. James Malcom ran in four tries in their previous encounter and added one from a rolling maul within the first five minutes.


They doubled the lead five minutes later. From a similar maul, Wolves managed to halt the initial attack but couldn’t stop Blair Macpherson who punctured the line once the ball was recycled. Two conversions from Simpson made it a 14-0 lead after ten minutes.


Stirling’s brief period of cup-final-shellshock soon wore off and they built quietly into the match. As the half ticked on the visitors looked more like themselves and threatened the a score just before half time. They looked poised to go over had it not been for a Thomas Glendinning intervention, intercepting yards from the line and relieving the pressure.


The Bulls then delt a sickening blow, not only escaping, but bagging their third on the stroke of half-time through tighthead Calvin Henderson – his first for the club. Simpson’s boot wrapped up the opening 40 minutes.


Half-time: Ayrshire Bulls 21-0 Stirling Wolves.


The Wolves had played enough rugby that being 21 points adrift was probably a harsh reflection of the game, but nether-the-less they needed a red-hot start to thrust themselves into contention.


From the first attack of the second half they got their reward. From a rolling maul Ruairidh Knott broke off to slip through unscathed. Marcus Holden added the extras.


The Bulls pulled back their advantage after 50 minutes. Again, the Wolves looked dangerous but a turnover from Macpherson ended up with Mason Cullen receiving the ball with nobody in front of him. He won the 60-metre footrace to the line.


Wolves weren’t going down without a fight, and soon Ross McKnight bagged their second. The towering winger had been quiet so far compared to his lofty standards but a well-timed pass from Holden in the midfield gave him the space he needed to get a head of steam and finish. The conversion was skewed right.


Another try a handful of minutes later from a calamity of errors from the Bulls made it a tighter encounter than Pat MacArthur would have liked. A touchline conversion from Holden made it a one-score game for the first time since the tenth minute.


In desperate need of a bounce-back score, Macpherson bullied his way over soon after but was pinged for double-movement. They went again but a knock-on thwarted another big opportunity. Wolves survived the scrum, but Glendinning stole possession back to keep the pressure on.


The Wolves kept their heads above water, but were delt a blow when replacement scrummy Eric Davey received a yellow card for a cynical infringement.


They got the decisive score with five left to play. After what felt like an eternity in the Wolves 22, Richie Simpson wrangled enough space to offload to the open Jamie Shedden, who rarely gets stopped that close to the line. Simpson split the uprights to make it a 33-19 lead.


The Bulls managed to weather any late attack to hold out and wrap up the Super Series era is the first and last champions.


Full-time: Ayrshire Bulls 33-19 Stirling Wolves.


Grant Stewart, playing out of the position in the back row, earned official FOSROC Player of the Match honours.