The Ayrshire Bulls signed off 2019 with a narrow victory over FOSROC Super6 leaders Watsonians, to join them at the top of the pile. A slow start saw Peter Murchie’s men ‘nilled at the break, but a change in momentum in the second half secured a 19-13 victory in front of a rocking Millbrae.

On final whistle Peter Murchie was full of praise for his opposition and admitted they were the better side over the first 40 minutes: “Watsonians were good. We had a lot of territory and a lot of possession… but every time they got to our 22 they came away with points. “That was the difference, they were clinical, and we weren’t – and part of that was because they defended really well”. The Bulls’ first points of the afternoon came courtesy of a try-line intercept, one which if young Ollie Smith didn’t make they’d have been looking at a 15, maybe 17, point deficit. Murchie didn’t play down the importance of that moment: “It was a massive momentum swing, from defending on our line to getting a try… It was a large part as to why we won the game”. Ollie Smith’s heroics alongside a disruptive full-eighty for the full back earned him FOSROC Man of the Match honours. The score set them on their way, and a penalty try twelve minutes later put the Bulls in front. After repeat infringements at a scrum five the Bulls pack managed to muscle Watsonians over their try line. As the front row collapsed referee Mike Adamson’s hand waived for the score to make it 12-10. It was a lead short lived, with Lee Millar executing from the tee minutes later for a one-point lead. Despite the three-point swing the Bulls stayed in control, and when a Danny McCluskey break put them in touching distance, they managed to regain the lead. Another scrum five, this time the Watsonians pack stayed in the air but couldn’t halt Blair Macpherson who picked up from the base and dived over. Ross Thompson concluded scoring from the tee. It could have all been different. As the full-time claxon echoed around Millbrae Watsonians earned a penalty and kicked for the corner. A few penalties later and the visitors looked to have muscled over, but the Bulls held up to secure victory. A moment of confusion engulfed the crowd, but Mike Adamson dismissed any doubt of an illegal collapse of the maul and called time. FULL-TIME: Ayrshire Bulls 19-13 Watsonians Rugby. The two sides now go into the break tied on 23, sharing Christmas top spot.