Stirling County 38
Edinburgh Accies 24
LEWIS STUART @ Bridgehaugh
A BONUS-POINT win, all wrapped up long before the end, it sounds as though it was a pretty straightforward afternoon for Stirling County. That was far from the case, however. The reality was that Stirling were made to work hard for their win and it was their superior finishing that made the real difference.
Add that they were completely dominant up front for long periods of the game and it was no surprise that by the time they started emptying the bench in the final minutes, they were already assured of victory with only the margin still to be decided. For all that, head coach Eddie Pollock, reckoned they had played at least as well, if not better, in defeat to Watsonians the previous week, saying this time, the big difference had been the accuracy of their finishing.
“We were just more clinical this week than last week,” he said. “Last time, we just did not take them but today every time we got down into their 22, we came away with points. That was the important thing, coming away with something.
“The pressure we build up meant that we felt a bit more confident. We had two or three line breaks in the first half and the difference was that last week we were throwing a bit of a loose pass but this week we played another phase or another few phases and got the score.”
They got there despite conceding the first score of the game in a scrappy opening quarter, Richard Mill, the Accies’ fly half, slotting a penalty. The reply was almost instant with Stirling breaking up the field to set up camp on the opposition line.
They had already been held up over the line once before they got a scrum rumbling forwards for Hamilton Burr, the No 8, to pick up and feed the backs with Andrew Goudie, the fly-half, finishing off.
That was soon followed by a break out from their own half through Cameron Henderson, the lock making his first start. He could not get there himself but the team kept their patience through half a dozen phases for Craig Robertson, the full-back, to go over.
It was even more adventurous as they claimed their third try. Grant Hughes, the centre, found the space to run from his own 22 and then the support came piling in behind him. By the time the ball got to the rest of the backs they had a massive overlap with Ewan McGarvie, the wing, the one to go over.
Goudie converted all three and added a later penalty to send his side into the dressing room with a 21-point advantage and the game all but won.
Accies came out fighting to open the second-half scoring through wing Cammy Gray but that only seemed to irritate Stirling, who tightened their grip on the game even further with the forwards claiming a penalty try when a scrum that was heading for the line was taken down. That was the bonus point, and the fifth try from Henderson from a maul looked like merely a bit of icing on the cake until the home side started to bring on their bench players and suddenly any sense of a pattern to the game disappeared again.
It helped Accies, who claimed two late tries through Neil Armstrong, the centre, and Gray. Briefly, they threatened that they might claim both a scoring a bonus and a losing bonus point but they didn’t have enough time to actually get there.
It had been an enterprising performance from Stirling, while Accies still have some work to do if they are to make an impact in their first season back in the top flight.
Stirling County: C Robertson; E McGarvie, B Thompson, G Hughes, R Tagive; A Goudie, P Jericevich; R Chies, R Kennedy, A Nicol, J Pow, C Henderson, G Arnold, S MacDonald, H Burr. Subs: B Gilchrist, M Walker, R Bundy, C Keys, J Hope.
Edinburgh Accies: R Chalmers; C Gray, G Spencer, N Armstrong, C Ramm; R Mill, R Davis; R Sutherland, C Black, J Pearce, R Seydak, M Badenhorst, J Sole, R Campbell, L Sendak. Subs: N Hall, C Lacour, A Ingwood, M Love, J Loomes.
Referee: G Ormiston.
Stirling County: Tries: Goudie, Robertson, McGarvie, penalty try, Henderson; Cons: Goudie 3, Hope; Pen: Goudie.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Gray 2, Armstrong; Cons: Mill 3; Pen: Mill.
Scoring sequence (Stirling County first): 0-3, 7-3, 14-3, 21-3, 24-3 (h-t) 24-10, 31-10, 38-10, 38-17, 38-24.
Yellow card –
Edinburgh Accies: Sutherland
Man of the match: Stirling full-back Craig Robertson kicked intelligently to make sure most of the pressure was on Accies.
Talking point: The Accies backs looked a threat in broken play but they must tighten up their forward play if they are to challenge top teams.