Highland fling out Uddingston’s rugby treble hopes

Uddingston on the attack during their National Bowl semi-final with Highland.
Uddingston on the attack during their National Bowl semi-final with Highland.

Uddingston’s dream for a trophy treble was shattered in Saturday as they lost 27-13 to Highland in their National Bowl semi-final.

In front of a bumper crowd at Bothwell Castle Policies the Inverness side emerged victorious after an enthralling encounter.

Both sides went into the match with two trophies apiece, Highland having secured the Caledonia Division 2 North title to go alongside the North Regional Bowl, while the Villagers were already the proud holders of the West Regional Bowl and the West Division 3 title.

But Highland had the home side reeling as the Villagers found themselves two tries behind within six minutes.

The opening score followed a series of strong drives up the left as the ball was popped out to Darren McLeod who was able to finish off in the corner.

Richard Sim missed the conversion attempt but four minutes later Highland doubled their lead when more good work from their pack created space for Rory Cross to finish off with a try in the right hand corner.

Sim again missed the target from out wide.

Uddingston fought hard to get back into the game but the visiting defence snuffed out wave after wave of attacks and then added a third try just before half-time when Gareth High who had the strength to spin out of the tackle and crash over the line.

Sim again missed the conversion but Highland went into the break 15-0 ahead.

The home side cut the deficit just a minute into the second half when James Brown spotted a gap round the fringes and picked from the base before diving in at the corner.

Gordon Burns made easy work of the touchline conversion and the Villagers were back in the game at 15-7.

A Burns penalty reduced the gap further before a dangerous tackle on the hour mark saw Highland reduced to 14 men as flanker Eamon Guinan was being sent to the sin bin.

The Villagers used their advantage well and another Burns penalty split the uprights to leave Highland just 15-13 ahead with everything to play for in the closing 17 minutes.

The next score was crucial and the visitors got it when Cross breached the home defence before offloading to fellow centre Tam McGowan who scampered over for a try which replacement kicker Craig Irvine gratefully converted.

Highland now had a nine-point advantage and the clock on their side and sealed victory with the last play of the game when substitute winger David Titteringham exploited a well worked overlap to score out wide.

The conversion fell short and moments later the referee’s whistle sounded.