Currie 21 Stirling County 39
Three Rory Hughes tries in the last seven minutes saw County claim a valuable five league points.
The Bridgehaugh side had let a sizeable lead slip at Malleny Park against third-placed Currie.
This was County’s first competitive match for a month, the last outing being at Neath in the Brirtish and Irish Cup, and it was Currie who showed the early initiative, taking the lead from a Jamie Forbes penalty.
Stirlinr replied immediately with a Brian Archibald penalty.
Poor field kicking by County gifted possession and territory to Currie and kept the visitors on the back foot. However, on 15 minutes Tim Clarke picked up a loose ball and ran in from 40 metres to score County’s opening try in the right corner.
In the 28th minute Stirling increased their lead when Alex Moffat and Mike McDonald set up Robbie Boswell, who sprinted 80 metres up the left flank, outpacing two Currie defenders to score a try, converted from out wide by Archibald.
Forbes and Archibald then swapped penalties before the break.
Currie’s number seven Michael Entwhistle was sin-binned but County failed to impose their numerical superiority when Jonny Hope was yellow-carded and Forbes kicked the resultant penalty.
County continued to give possession away too easily, handing Currie the ascendancy and the hosts mounted a concerted assault on the visitors’ line, which was resolutely defended before Chris Leck reduced the deficit to 18-14 with an uncoverted try.
The home side then took the lead through Malcolm Peacock, converted by Forbes, as the game entered the final quarter.
With seven minutes remaining, following a penalty for persistent infringements by Currie which saw the home side reduced to 14 men, the County pack secured the resultant lineout five yards from the Currie line and, following a succession of pick-and-drives by the forwards, the ball was recycled and moved swiftly out to the left wing for Hughes to squeeze over in the corner, with the try converted by Archibald to regain the lead for the visitors at 25-21.
With a man advantage, County continued to press forward and with three minutes remaining Stuart Edwards cleverly kicked the ball left from centre-field across the Currie 22, which stretched the home defence, and the alert Hughes picked up the bouncing ball and barged over the try-line to score in the left corner, again converted by Archibald, to secure the four-try bonus point for the visitors and give County a 32 – 21 lead.
From the kick-off County secured possession and Addison broke clear and kicked the ball ahead, only to be tackled without the ball. The Currie defender was yellow-carded, reducing the home side to 13 men. County opted for the scrum five yards from the Currie line but the ball was turned over and Currie, in their attempts to launch an attack from their 22, sent a loose pass which the lively winger Hughes gratefully picked up to
score his third try, converted by Archibald.
This was a vital win for County, moving them up the table to eighth position and only five points off fourth place.
The coaches were delighted with the victory and in particular the manner in which the team finished the match. County will be looking to build on this vital win with a strong finish in their remaining four Premiership matches.
County’s man of the match, sponsored by John Graham Metals, was Ruiraidh Leishman.
Thanks to County’s main sponsor Ondeo Industrial Solutions and all others who continue to support the club.
On Saturday at 3pm County entertain title-chasing Gala in a crucial Premiership match.