Stirling 15-16 Heriot’s: An agonising end for County

There was more agony for Stirling County, going down to Heriot’s by the narrowest possible margin. The home team were winning with four minutes left but, put under pressure, they conceded a soft penalty and simply ran out of time. Stirling did however get a losing bonus point which took them off the bottom of the Super6 table for a day at least.

Ross Jones kicked three penatlies and a conversion for Heriot's. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS

Heriot’s kicked off, County failed to secure the ball and the visitors kept hold of it for the opening two and a half minutes until the referee’s arm signalled a penalty which full-back Ross Jones, pictured, wasted no time in taking.

The first half was a little scrappy and disjointed though County had the better of it, with several attacks inside the Heriot’s red zone but they have a problem converting pressure into points and that was the issue again yesterday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In one sweeping move both County half-backs, Josh Henderson and Sean Kennedy, chipped and recovered the ball only for the latter to knock on in the contact. It ended with an attacking lineout for County from which the home side grabbed the opening try when centre Landon Hayes’ long, looping pass found winger Ewan MacGarvie in space and he stepped inside to score on the half hour mark.

After taking the lead, Stirling took heart because they ended the half pounding relentlessly on the Heriot’s line. The home team drove an attacking maul over the line but failed to ground the ball. They scrummed Heriot’s into the dirt to win a penalty but failed to find a second score before the break.

Heriot’s started the second half as they had the first, with a simple three points after centre Cameron Hutchinson had twice come within a whisker of scoring a try after barnstorming runs. Having seen County squander a similar opportunity, Heriot’s were not going to make the same mistake and Jones edged the visitors back into the lead.

With their tails up, Heriot’s turned the screw. A teasing kick into the corner was collected by Logan Trotter who was immediately bundled into touch. A few phases later, Heriot’s centre Hutchinson did his best impersonation of a flanker by burrowing his way over the line from short range, with Jones doing the needful off the tee.

Just as it looked like Heriot’s were in complete control, Stuart Edwards tarried over a clearance kick, lock Oliver Bartlett charged it down and won the race to score. With 15 minutes on the clock, Heriot’s lead was down to one point. Awarded a penalty on 68 minutes, Henderson regained the lead to the delight of the Bridgehaugh faithful only to see Jones do the same at the opposite end of the field after a dumb offside decision.

With just minutes left on the clock there was to be no comeback for County this time.