Stirling County 5
BOROUGHMUIR produced the life-saving performance that could dig them out of a relegation play-off at the end of the season after demolishing Stirling County in the rearranged match switched from Meggetland to Lasswade RFC’s ground at Hawthornden.
The result means that Boroughmuir remain second from bottom of the championship table, but within two points of nearest rivals Hawick, who have played one game more than the Meggetland side. Muir are also within three points of the team they defeated today and Glasgow Hawks.
“Obviously the result brings Stirling into the relegation battle,” Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright said. “But we’re not thinking about that. We’re concentrating on what happens to us. If Stirling had won that would have put enormous pressure on us.
“If we played like this every week we would be in the top four. Today was an all-round performance by Boroughmuir. Our discipline was very good – we gave away only one penalty in the first half.
“We‘ve got a game in hand. We’ve still got Hawks and Watsonians to play. And we know that Hawks have lost their age-grade players. And Hawks, like Stirling, haven’t won a league game since October.”
Wright was keen to highlight the contribution of youngster Robert Ure, whose try last week against Hawick earned Muir a vital bonus point. “Young Robert Ure was superb. He’s only 18 years old but made tackle after tackle to follow up his good performance against Hawick last weekend.
“I thought we scrummaged well today, and that was in contrast to our first game against Stirling. They put pressure on us at the beginning of the second half but we battered them back.
“We were 23-0 up at half-time, but even then we knew they could hit back. The boys however stuck in and we got the big win we sought,” Wright concluded.
For Stirling, who were missing a number of key players, this was always going to be a difficult game. “It was a rearranged game on the day of an international, but we’re not offering that as an excuse,” conceded Peter Jericevich, Stirling’s player/coach. “We struggled to get a good platform up front. They took their opportunities. But the bottom line is that we came up against a side who knew they needed to win.”
These are worrying times for County, and Jericevic knows that his side must focus on the remaining games. “We’ve had six league defeats in a row now,” he added. “Teams are catching us up. We need to dig deep. We need to regroup. I hope we can get back the players who were missing today.
“We have a cup game next week against Edinburgh Accies. They’re going very well in National One and will be tough opponents. We will have home advantage. We’ve got two league games at home – against Hawks and Marr – and we’ve got Melrose away.”
Muir gave themselves a solid start with three penalty goals by stand-off Chris Laidlaw. Then tries by flanker Aubrey Mncube and Jordan Edmonds both converted by Laidlaw gave Muir a 23-0 interval advantage.
Hooker Jonny Matthews continued the one-way points traffic before flanker Rob Ure grabbed his side’s bonus-point try, Laidlaw adding the extras to both scores. Stirling finally got a reward for their endeavours with a try by Ross Curle, but Boroughmuir finished strongly, running in scores by full-back Grant McConnell and wing Michael Brown to round off a psychologically important performance.
Boroughmuir: G McConnell; M Brown, R Kerr, G Cannie, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw, J Adams; D Robertson, J Matthews, T Gracie, J Ure, F Field, A Mncube, R Ure, C Keddie. Subs: R Montgomery, E McKirdy, D Marek, M Walker, R Scott.
Stirling County: J Hope; L Trotter, A McLean, R Curle, K Gossman; G Hughes, P Jericevich; R Chies, B Gilchrist, G Holburn, J Beech, J Pow, H Henderson, S Macdonald, R Leishman. Subs: R Kennedy, A Wood, S Yarrow, L Bonar, R Swan.
Boroughmuir: Tries: Mncube, Edmunds, Matthews, Ure, McConnell, Brown. Cons: Laidlaw 4. Pens: Laidlaw 3.
Stirling County: Try: Curle.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir first): 3-0; 6-0; 9-0; 14-0; 16-0; 21-0; 23-0 (h-t) 28-0; 30-0; 35-0; 37-0; 37-5; 42-5; 47-5.
Referee: K Allan.
Man of the Match: Stand-off Chris Laidlaw got Boroughmuir off to a good start with three penalty goals, and increased Muir’s points tally with four conversions for a 17-point personal contribution.
Talking point: Boroughmuir showed that they really can play rugby when they focus on executing skills. Their problem has been inconsistency. They now need steady nerves to ride out the season.