Melrose 29 - 35 Stirling County: Rory Hughes puts end to Melrose fightback
STIRLING County almost certainly ended Melrose’s title aspirations with a win at The Greenyards that was reward for character and patience.
The game was won by half-time with the try bonus point already on its way to Bridgehaugh, but, in a remarkable second half, in which Melrose did not concede one penalty, the home fightback was undone by a crucial Rory Hughes try, his third of the afternoon.
“Melrose, as we expected, came back strongly towards the end, but we are very pleased with the result,” said Stirling coach Graeme Young.
“We have a lot of talent and pace in our backline. However, it was a hard last ten minutes and it was all credit to the guys. I am very proud of them for we showed a lot of character.”
Melrose now face a hard struggle to make it three titles in a row. Stuart Johnson, who came on as a second-half replacement, said that the rest of the season was now a ‘massive ask’ for the players.
“We got two bonus points, and that is a plus, and we now need to go forward and win every game,” he said. “We have a few big weeks coming up.
Two tries by Hughes and scores by Sean Kennedy and Danny Gilmore, added to Brian Archibald conversions, put Stirling in control before the interval.
The forwards led the Melrose revival and tries by John Dalziel, Wayne Mitchell and Nicky Little, to one by Usala Kalamafoni jnr, gave Melrose hope, but the game was effectively ended by Hughes’ score.
Scorers: Melrose – Tries: Dalziel, Kalamafoni jnr, Mitchell, Little. Cons: Skeen (3). Pen: Mill. Stirling County: Tries, Hughes (3), Kennedy, Gilmore. Cons: Archibald (5).
Melrose: S Chalmers; L Mallin, R Mill, J Helps, U Kalamafoni jnr; A Skeen, B Colvine; N Little, A Walker, G Holborn, R Ovens, R Miller, J Dalziel, G Runciman, A Nagle Replacements: W Mitchell, C Arthur, S Johnson, S McCormick, A Jessop.
Stirling County: B Addison; G Lindsay, D Gilmore, B Archibald, R Hughes; S Edwards, S Kennedy; M McDonald, A Moffat, G Mountford, R Leishman, C Deacons, T Clark, R Boswell, B Barsanti Replacements: C Hutton, R Kennedy, S Robertson, R Aitken, S MacDonald.
Referee: R Dickson.
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