CRAIG ROBERTSON was selected as The Offside Line’s man-of-the-match for his heroic injury time kick which sealed Stirling Count’s dramatic win over Ayrshire Bulls, and thoroughly deserved to be the toast of Bridgehaugh on Friday night. But he did also throw the interception pass which saw his team fall behind a few moments earlier, and only played 22 minutes, so misses out to Joe Jenkins of Southern Knights on this occasion.
Steven Hamilton is rewarded for his excellent finish which set the ball rolling for County and for his assist which set up the bonus point try with selection on the right wing. Team-mate Logan Trotter is unlucky to miss out on the other touchline, but Tom Brown‘s try-scoring exploits in a losing-cause for Boroughmuir Bears edges it.
18-year-old Duncan Munn made a compelling case for selection at inside-centre for the Bears in his first competitive appearance in senior rugby, but Stuart Edwards‘ guiding hand in Heriot’s excellent victory over previously unbeaten Watsonians couldn’t be overlooked, and his partner in the middle of the park is County’s Archie Russell.
Heriot’s stand-off Bruce Houston worked brilliantly in tandem with Edwards to orchestrate the downfall of Watsonians, and kicked 16 points as well, including the tournament first ever drop-goal, so he wears 10. His half-back partner Lloyd Wheeldon made a strong case to also be selected, but Kaleem Barreto registered another accomplished man-of-the-match performance for the Bears so edges it.
Not much went Watsonians’ way on Saturday but head coach Fergus Pringle did say he was pleased with how his team scrummaged, which earns Harrison Courtney selection at loose-head; Michael Liness is at hooker after being 100 percent with the line-out darts and grafting well round the park; and Euan McLaren of Southern Knights is at tight-head.
Another huge shift for Byron Bowes for Stirling County – as his team’s top carrier (13), top ruck hitter (25) and second equal top tackler (11) – sees the South African named again in the engine-room, alongside one of his opponents from Friday night in Ed Bloodworth, who perhaps didn’t contribute quite as much with ball-in-hand but did managed to hit 31 ruck and make 22 tackles.
Ruairidh Leishman carried hard with six tackle breaks to earn selection at blindside. Connor Gordon once again returned huge stats at open-side for Stirling County, won a vital jackal penalty after Robbie Nairn‘s break when it was 27-21 with eight minutes to go, and brilliantly re-claimed the restart after his team fell behind in the final minute, which facilitated Robertson’s winning penalty. Iain Moody is at No 8 as a figurehead of another uncompromising forward effort from Southern Knights.
15. Joe Jenkins (Southern Knights)
14. Steven Hamilton (Stirling County)
13. Archie Russell (Stirling County)
12. Stuart Edwards (Heriot’s)
11. Tom Brown (Boroughmuir Bears)
10. Bruce Houston (Heriot’s)
9. Kaleem Barreto (Boroughmuir Bears)
1. Harrison Courtney (Watsonians)
2. Michael Liness (Heriot’s)
3. Euan McLaren (Southern Knights)
4. Ed Bloodworth (Ayrshire Bulls)
5. Byron Bowes (Stirling County)
6. Ruairidh Leishman (Heriot’s)
7. Connor Gordon (Stirling County)
8. Iain Moodie (Southern Knights)