HAMILTON opened their NL1 campaign with a workman-like 31-6 victory over local rivals Dalziel, while the other newcomers to the division, Ellon, did well to win 33-24 at Kilmarnock.

Hamilton's backs have often promised much, but it was expected that the Dalziel pack, coached this season by Dave Cockburn, would dominate in the tight. As it was, the return of two experienced props, Peter Murphy and John Lindsay, gave Hamilton the edge up front, creating the opportunities for five tries. There were try doubles for full back Allan Dodds and Kiwi open-side Ati Olive and one touchdown for scrum half Ben Humphries. Gerry Hawkes converted three of them while Dalziel managed only two of Jamie Duguid penalties.

Despite a number of defensive lapses which Kilmarnock were quick to exploit, Ellon carried too much fire- power for the home side, and tries from Jamie Stewart (2), Alex Hayman, George Humphries and Murray Gilbert gave them a margin more comfortable than the 33-24 scoreline suggests.

Elsewhere in NL1, Greenock edged out their hosts 31-29 at Annan, Ardrossan beat Duns 32-24 and Hillfoots steam-rollered Ross High 64-3.

Highest scorers of the day were NL2 newcomers, Perthshire, who romped to an 11-try, 71-6 win at struggling Trinity Accies. Star man was stand-off Jesse Westerlund who racked up 23 points from three tries and four conversions, but who was also the creator of several other tries. There was a try each for Dave Rankin, Sam Kaleta, Matt Faye, Keir Doe, Adam Pattison, Andy Elder, Gary Coull and Alan Brown, who also kicked four conversions.

Glasgow Accies, also promoted into NL2, started their season well with a 22-14 victory over Langholm.

Morgan had to come back from a 17-5 half-time deficit to overcome a stuffy Allan Glen's side 25-17 in their NL3 contest. In the battle of the other two promoted sides, Hawick YM scraped to a 10-6 home win against Newton Stewart.

Although they recorded a 30-3 win, NL4 new boys, Lenzie are counting the cost of their trip to Orkney. President Gordon Cribbes explained; ''We decided to charter a plane, which all told cost us about (pounds) 6000. It will have to be a one-off; we couldn't afford to do it again.''

Graham Wilson's stoppage-time interception try earned Lenzie a bonus point after earlier touchdowns from Stevie Hardy, Lorne McInnes and Ross McAuley. Donald Brodie kicked two penalties and two conversions.

stuart sutherland