Seldom can there have been games in which one team dominated as comprehensively as did Stirling yet struggle to put away beleaguered opposition.
Scorers: Stirling County – Try: Mountford; Pens: Archibald (2). Hawick – Try: Walker; Con: Armstrong; Pen: Armstrong.
That was a point acknowledged by County head coach Graeme Young. “We had several opportunities and had four tries we should have finished in the first half,” he admitted.
“In the end, though, if we had anything other than a win, I would have felt pretty hard done by. But we ground it out.”
The victory certainly eases County’s relegation worries as they now have the same points as Hawick and have pulled away a little from those below them.
However, they face a tough final three games that include contests against the top two, though Young seems up for the challenge: “We have to go to Melrose next and we’ll have to regroup and take some points from that game.
“But we’ve won three league games on the bounce now, the guys are working hard and I’m pleased.”
Young may have been pleased, but the Bridgehaugh faithful were more relieved at the final whistle and there was much head-scratching over now difficult Stirling had made things for themselves.
They led early on courtesy of a Brian Archibald kick, but a telegraphed pass by Stuart Edwards allowed Nikki Walker to intercept and sprint clear for a try under the posts, which Lee Armstrong converted for a lead that Hawick did not deserve.
Thereafter it was one-way traffic, with County unfathomably unable to turn pressure into points until injury time at the end of the first half when Garry Mountford barged over to finish a break by Danny Gilmour.
Hawick’s excellent defensive work was rewarded soon after the restart when Armstrong chipped a penalty and they showed plenty of spirit as they tried to make headway, but Archibald had the final word in nudging over the winning score.
Hawick head coach Phil Leck was philosophical afterwards. “We didn’t impose ourselves on the game. We tried to play some field position in the second half, but if we’d kicked more sensibly we could perhaps have built something.
“But we kicked to the wrong areas and that allowed them to put us under pressure again. But I’m pleased with the effort. The lads have stood up and have done well.”
Stirling County: B Archibald, T Seymour, D Gilmour, F Lyle, R Hughes, S Edwards, AJ McFarlane, J Bhatti, A Moffat, G Mountford, E Dewar, C Deacons, S Robertson, J Swanson, W Bordill. Reps: K Burney, R Kennedy, B Addison, S McDonald, S Swindall.
Hawick: J Coutts, N Walker, L Armstrong, S McLeod, G Anderson, R Hutton, G Cottrell, S Muir, L Gibson, L Launders, R McAlpine, K Willison, S Graham, B McNeil, R Scott.
Reps: N McTaggart, M Landels, K Davies, J Evens, N McColm.
Referee: D Changleng.
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