Heriot’s 20 - 29 Stirling County: Stirling effort yields first win

NEITHER of these teams looked much like Premiership title contenders but Stirling did enough to salvage the win and pick up a four-try bonus point to boot. That could be vital when the final shakedown of this league campaign happens in just under seven months’ time.

Scorers: Heriot’s – Tries: Carmichael, Hill. Cons: Wilson 2. Pens: Wilson (2). Stirling – Tries: Swindall, Moffat, Edwards, Kennedy. Cons: Archibald (3). Pen: Archibald.

They have now got their show on the road after last weekend’s defeat to Melrose, and coach Graeme Young believes that his squad will get better. Qualification for the British and Irish Cup for the second successive year is a possibility.

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“There is no reason why this side can not be in the top four at the end of the year,” he said. “We were disappointed with last week. We played well and let it slip in the last 20, so the key today was to play our pattern for the whole 80 minutes and we did that.

“In the first half, we had an issue with the contact area and us not staying on our feet, and that cost us a lot of penalties and turnovers, which meant we didn’t have enough possession in the first half.

“But we finished stronger, and I was pleased with the way we closed the game out.”

For Heriot’s, a hard winter beckons. The glory days of their qualification for the first British and Irish Cup three years ago must seem like a very distant memory.

The match could have gone either way up until the hour mark and, ironically, it was the sin-binning of Stirling centre Troy Nathan for coming into the ruck from the side which swung the pendulum in the visiting team’s favour. The visitors lost a score to Jason Hill straight after that incident but scored a converted Stuart Edwards try and a Brian Archibald penalty during the period when they were at a numerical disadvantage. When Heriot’s lost Kevin Bryce to the sin-bin, they fell further behind to a Sean Kennedy try.

Heriots: R Alexander (A Scott 68); M Teague, M Nimmo, R Carmichael, C Goudie; O Brown (C Ferguson 70), G Wilson; G Cameron (C Owenson 68), K Bryce, S Cessford (J-P Ward 70), R Martin, C Osazuwa, C Mulligan, F Brown, J Hill.

Stirling: J Hope (T Nathan 40); G Lindsay, D Gilmour, B Archibald, B McGuigan; S Edwards, S Kennedy; S Raby, A Moffat, G Mountford, R McAlpine (S Robertson 78), C Deacons, A Ashe, R Boswell, S Swindall.