Super Series: Stirling Wolves battle back to beat Boroughmuir Bears

Home side recover from a ten-point deficit at the break to end the first half of the Championship on a high

Stirling Wolves v Boroughmuir Bears
Stirling Wolves prevailed against Boroughmuir Bears after being ten points adrift at half-time. Image: Bryan Robertson.

Stirling Wolves 33

Boroughmuir Bears 20

 

LEWIS STUART @ Bridgehaugh

STIRLING Wolves put three disappointing halves of rugby behind them to produce a storming second half performance that brought them from behind to earn a comfortable win over the Boroughmuir Bears. Once they got going, it was one-way traffic, but it took them a while to find their groove after disappointing themselves and their coaches last week at the Southern Knights.

However, nobody could argue with the 26-point second half or the way in which they ruthlessly exploited their dominance once it arrived after stuttering along for most of the first half and going in at the break fortunate to be only 17-7 down.

“We started the game really well but then had 20 minutes when we coughed up ball, gave away penalties and they scored 14 unanswered points,” commented Duncan Hodge, the assistant coach who was in charge on the night. “From that point on, I thought we played really well.

“Second half we were the better team, scored some good tries. Especially after last week, we could have dived into a hole but we fronted up. That was a massive second half from us. To turn it round and get a bonus-point win is massive, really massive.

“We let ourselves down last week but when we play near our top level, we can put teams away.”

Graham Shiel, the Boroughmuir coach, was philosophical, though irritated that a lapse in the final play of the game cost his side even a losing bonus point. “I think we deserved that but it wasn’t to be,” he reflected.

“We played well in the first half but probably didn’t really capitalise as much as we could have done and they started to get on top. In the second half they were the better team, so no complaints about the result, though I am disappointed not to get something.

“The positives are that first half: we need to continue that and find ways to stay in games. They are a good team who offload well and we always knew Bridgehaugh would be a touch place to come.”

It really was a case of a game where one side started on top but the other slowly reeled them in and passed them with something to spare. After weathering an initial flurry from the home side, Shiel’s men looked as though they were more than capable of steamrolling their way to victory.

It was the forwards who did the real damage, clawing their way upfield,winning a string of penalties and finding themselves mauling on the Stirling line. The home side resisted the first surge but Scott Robeson, the centre, came on the crash ball to take his team almost to the line and scrum-half Kaleem Barreto nipped round the side to make the final couple of feet.

That was good enough for the Bears, but they couldn’t even have dreamed of the series of sloppy mistakes in defence that allowed Euan Murhead, their full-back, to take the ball, cruise past two missed tackles and race in for the second score. With George Paul converting both, the visitors had a handsome lead.

The important thing was that they were wining the power battle, dominating in both the scrum and maul. It meant that even when Stirling did manage to get some possession and apply some pressure, they were struggling to turn it into points.

Still, they kept at it and eventually made their efforts pay. The maul was held, as were the pick and drives from the big forwards, but when they did release the ball to the backs, with hooker Gregor Hiddleston adding some go-forward, it paid off with Ryan Southern, the centre, finding space to slip through. Holden converted and suddenly Stirling were back in the game, even though the Bears did edge further ahead with a Muirhead penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Just as well for them, because Stirling wasted no time after the break getting into the game and a superb solo break down the middle by wing Ross McKnight, which gave him the chance to offload to Kyle McGhie, the scrum-half, for the try, which Marcus Holden duly converted.

A second Boroughmuir penalty, this time by Paul on his return from the sin bin, gave the visitors a bit of breathing space. But by now Stirling were starting to get parity up front and were making their fast handling game pay off.

The breakthrough came when Stirling at last managed to get some traction in the maul and Hiddleston managed to drive through three tackles to score the try that closed the gap to a single point.

That was quickly followed by the moment of the match when Southern exploded from deep in his own 22 to race almost the length of the pitch. Support from Holden, his fellow centre, brought them closer and Glenn Bryce, the full-back, was on hand to take the feed from the ruck and go over.

With Holden converting, the Wolves were ahead for the first time, and had the scoring bonus point with time running out and the benches starting to have a real impact. Strength in depth gave Stirling a decisive advantage and when they destroyed the Bears’ scrum, the final act of the game was wing McKnight diving on the loose ball over the visitors’ line to deprive them of a losing bonus point.

 

Teams –

Stirling Wolves: G Bryce; M Heron, R Southern, M Holden©, R McKnight; C Jackson, K McGhie (E Davy, 55 ); G Breese (L Quarm, 67), G Hiddleston (R Kennedy, 74), M Ogunlaja (L Skinner, 51), H Ferguson, J Pow (T Smith, 69), E Timpson (S MacDonald, 67), C Gordon, R Knott.

Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead; M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson (J Beveridge, 72), J Jenkins; G Paul (sin bin: 36-46), K Barreto; I Carmichael (C McFeat Smith, 57), C Tait (A Allen, 61), M McGinley (D Winning, 47), M Lodoba, J Fisher, K Westlake, S McGinley (T Andrews, 51), C Keddie (C).

Referee: David Sutherland.

 

Scorers –

Stirling Wolves: Tries: Southern, McGhie, Hiddleston, Bryce, McKnight. Cons: Holden (4).

Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Barreto, Muirhead. Cons: Paul (2). Pens: Muirhead, Paul.

 

Player of the Match: The official man of the match was Kaleem Barreto, the Bears’ scrum-half, and he certainly led the way for his side. But our award goes to Gregor Hiddleston, the Wolves hooker, who not only scored the key try but played a hand in the comeback score and carried hard all game.

Talking point: Tough sell, this one. It was pitched against the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony and the France v New Zealand game, which kicked off at about half-time, while Scotland’s football side kicked off in Cyprus about 10 minutes into the match. A decent crowd in the circumstances, but surely people have to think about the timing of these games.

About Lewis Stuart 77 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.

13 Comments

  1. Well I went to the Watsonians/futures game and what I saw was entertaining have a go rugby,, and if people don’t want to go watch young players giving their all against a strong knowledgeable older set up. Then more fools they, as the old saying should read” don’t let your prejudices stop you trying something new” sure it’s far from perfect and gets altered, but then I’m sure the league set ups as they were were modified every yea 🤔 Don’t forget somewhere down the line people said no don’t change what we have… alll sports are changing

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    • Ridiculous strawman argument in keeping with a ridiculous meaningless competition.

      I’d rather watch a meaningful game of club rugby.

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  2. Premiership and Divisions 1,2,3 & 4 teams offered something the Super 6 teams cannot. That is the opportunity to support your local team. The grass roots of Scottish Rugby. The concept of the Super 6 is flawed. First, there are only 6 teams and two, by not establishing teams in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and 3 in Edinburgh reinforces that point. There must be a better way.

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  3. Premiership and Divisions 1,2,3 & 4 teams offered something the Super 6 teams cannot. That is the opportunity to support your local team. The grass roots of Scottish Rugby. The concept of the Super 6 is flawed. First, there are only 6 teams and two, by not establishing teams in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and 3 in Edinburgh reinforces that point. There must be a better way.

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    • Only if they can include folk walking their dogs within a 2 mile radius otherwise it would be a 2 figure number! You have to go a fair way down the club leagues to find lower numbers (and the S6 don’t like it being mentioned how often they just give away free tickets and still get no interest)

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      • All this interest in spectating numbers at Super 6. You are obviously a rugby fan who has gone to very few club games. Having watched Premiership games for years, yes their are some very good crowds but I can also remember crowds at some of our top teams where there were no more than 2 men and a dog there! I also remember going to Edinburgh games where there were 2,000 people in attendance and it didn’t get as much coverage as the attendances of Super 6.
        As I’ve said numerous times Super 6 is not what I would have had but on and off the pitch it is doing far better than the Premiership was doing in its later days before Super 6.

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      • Perhaps if you spent less time slagging it off and actually went to watch we would all be in a better place.

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      • The Super Series is vastly more entertaining than anything the premiership has to offer. It also offers a more realistic (while not perfect) pathway for aspiring pro players.

        Rugby Fan? More like Rugby Hater.

        Go to a game and give it a chance, you may actually enjoy it.

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    • They are hidden as they are so poor. Very few people are interested in this farcical competition which is why there is no TV coverage. On TNT(BT) sports you can watch climbing, surfing and any number of other niche sports who can all get TV deals. Super Six can’t. says it all.

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      • Have you made that up Eddie.
        Show me where you got that official figure then maybe I’ll believe you .
        And don’t count the free tickets .

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