Good defending is often an under-appreciated part of the game but it was the platform on which Hawick built their victory at Bridgehaugh.
County had dominated the opening quarter, staying deep in their visitors’ territory for long spells but they were unable to put points on the board, thanks in large measure to clever defending and excellent discipline.
Contrastingly, Hawick’s first real incursion into Stirling’s half saw them capitalise with a try by Rory Hutton that Ali Weir converted.
Thereafter, County struggled to impose more pressure and it was the Borderers who looked far more likely to cross the whitewash.
Indeed, Hawick increased their advantage when Weir chipped a kick over, before Jonny Hope finally opened Stirling’s account with a penalty in the 60th minute.
County hopes of a renaissance were compromised by a lamentably high number of mistakes that saw them repeatedly relinquish good possession and field position. In a low-scoring contest, the error-strewn performance was to prove expensive.
Hawick were good value for a hard-fought win, cementing the victory with a late unconverted try by Greg Cottrell.