Depleted Mull squad performs well
A RUN of serious injuries had left the Mull squad short of players for their away game to Clydesdale RFC.
With only seven players travelling down the road, an appeal was made to the wider Mull diaspora.
Five answered the call so, along with stand-in coach David Downham, a Mull team of 13 took the field at the Alexander Hamilton memorial park.
Clydesdale kicked off and, although the sun was shining, the biting Ayrshire wind reminded the players it was November.
Almost immediately Mull scored a try, but it was disallowed by referee Duncan McCabe. This was one of four tries he would strike off for the Muileachs.
Mull continued to dominate the start and quickly found themselves up 0-17.
Two similar tries from Tony Haunschmidt, taking the ball off the ruck and conducting his trademark charge through the opposition, set Mull for the game.
Mull kicker Sean Black converted both in the windy conditions and a penalty immediately after to add another three points. This strong start was a welcome change as recent games had seen the boys in black and white struggling to find their feet in the first 10 to 15 minutes.
A welcome return from Angus Cowe saw him rewarded with a try.
After Clydesdale fumbled a kick, Stuart Crichton won the ball and a quick pass led to the try.
The home side began to hit back and, using their greater numbers, managed to score. Captain Craig O’Donnell led from the front, however, and replied with another try for the islanders to make the score 5-27.
The pack had been performing well in the first half and would continue throughout the game against a much heavier and more experienced opposition.
The second row saw the return of Oban’s Kyle Kennedy, helping the efforts in the scrums.
The start of the second half saw Clydesdale start to take advantage of their extra two men and it was a try for both teams pretty early on – Tony Haunschmidt completing his hat-trick.
Sean Black then completed a great solo run to score between the posts and duly converted to make it 5-34 at half time.
It was then Kilchoan’s Ross Rankin’s turn to get on the score sheet, with a pick and go off a ruck.
Once again, the numbers started to tell as Clydesdale got another two tries and the score was now 17- 48.
Mull held the pressure and Haunschmidt managed his fourth of the day with a set move off a lineout and a pass from Black, leading to a 50-metre sprint to score.
Two unconverted tries from Clydesdale followed shortly after making the score 27-55.
Mull could have added to their tally with the last move of the game as Stuart Crichton knocked the ball on, frustratingly inches from the try line.
The result topped off a great weekend for Mull rugby as both the mini-rugby and under-14 teams were in action at Glencruitten.
Sorley MacLaughlin and Murdo MacLennan were also drafted in to help Oban under-18s in their journey to Newton Stuart.
Murdo has just received his Argyll and Bute coaching award. The 16-year- old has already been coaching for five years.
Making his debut as coach at the weekend, David Downham said: ‘The effort put in by the 13 players was simply unbelievable. It was an excellent example of the spirit that epitomises Mull rugby.’
Birthday boy Finlay Maclaren, who plays in the second row, added: ‘It was great to get another win under the belt as a result of the huge effort of the 13 men on the field. It wasn’t pretty at times but it’s another five points on the league total and lifts us to second place.’
Mull’s next fixture is away to Lanark in the BT West Regional Bowl on Saturday November 19.
Mull enjoyed victory away to Clydesdale at the weekend despite only fielding 13 players.