Stirling County 0 - 8 Ayrshire Bulls: Visitors grind out victory

Ross Thompson was on target with a penalty for Ayrshire Bulls. Picture: Bruce White/SNS/SRU
Ross Thompson was on target with a penalty for Ayrshire Bulls. Picture: Bruce White/SNS/SRU
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The tone of this miserable match was set from the off when Stirling County winger Logan Trotter spilled the 
kick-off under absolutely no pressure.

It was the first of a good many mistakes in appalling conditions when any attempts at adventure or ambition were invariably penalised. The weather had a bigger say in this Super6 fixture than any player, sad to say.

With first use of the wind, Ayr needed to rack up some first-half scores but their efforts were hindered by serial indiscipline inside the Stirling half of the field and a yellow card for Peter McCallum on nine minutes for a high tackle.

Short-handed Ayr had an attacking maul halted by stout Stirling defence and when McCallum returned with the score still 0-0, he decided his team needed something to show for all their territory and, following a scrum penalty, Ross Thompson, pictured, did the needful from the tee.

Those three points proved to be the only score of the first half but Ayr knuckled down after the break, kept hold of the ball and their maul milked some soft penalties from the Stirling defence.

They were grinding their way towards the County line only to concede a penalty themselves for 
sealing off, the sort of stupidity that infuriates coaches.

At the other end of the field Cameron Henderson surprised himself and everyone else in the ground by making a clean break straight from a breakdown. The big lock juggled the ball but got to within five metres of the Ayr line only for his skipper 
Reyner Kennedy to spill it.

Eventually the 0-3 deadlock was broken by Ayr just inside the final ten minutes. Ayr’s forwards picked and drove their way to within inches of the County line and, as had happened more than once, they lost the ball in contact giving County the turnover.

County had possession but they failed to protect it. The ball was placed back inside the breakdown but, crucially, over the County try line so the offside line was suspended. The Bulls’ Argentine prop Nico Griffiths knows the laws of the game and ventured around the breakdown to touch the ball down and take this match beyond County’s reach.

The match finished with Thompson missing what, in normal circumstances, would have been a gimme of a