THERE was cause for celebration last weekend as Stirling County Under-18s beat their counterparts from Ayr to lift the National Youth League Cup in a competitive final at Murrayfield.
County were ahead at half-time through a 33rd minute penalty from full-back Keiran Gammie.
Stirling extended their lead 11 minutes into the second-half, following good work by second-row Cameron Keys and winger Cameron Hill, before the ball was swiftly moved wide to No.8 Wallace Nelson who powered through the Ayr defensive-line to score the opening try in the right corner. Gammie converted from the touchline to give County a 10-0 lead.
Four minutes later County increased their advantage to 1500 when the ball was fed out to Andrew McLean on the right flank and the powerful outside-centre exploited a gap in the Ayr defence to sprint over for an unconverted try in the left corner.
Ayr responded immediately, and prop Logan Richardson barged through the County defence for a try, converted by Jack Gaw, to reduce the deficit to 15-7.
Gaw then added a penalty for Ayr with six minutes of the match remaining to bring his side to within five points of County.
With three minutes left on the clock, County sealed a deserved victory with a well-worked try scored by flanker Cameron Blakemore who strolled over the Ayr line to touchdown after a succession of controlled attacking drives by the Stirling forwards.
Man-of-the-match Gammie kicked the conversion to take the final score to 22-10 to County.
Matt McCrandles, head coach with the County Under-18s team, said: "We came to Murrayfield expecting nothing else but a hard march from Ayr. We tried to play our usual game plan but they managed to suss us out.
"However, when we moved forward in the second-half, glimmers of hope started to show and tries came from that. So we're very happy and I'm very proud of the boys."
TEAM: Keiran Gammie, Cameron Hill, Andrew McLean, James Gibson (capt.), Tommy Johnson, Jonathon Ross, Adrian Riddick; Connor Clark, Bryce Robertson, Ross Murray, Cameron Keys, Ross Bundy, Cameron Blakemore, Donald McLaren, Wallace Nelson. REPLACEMENTS: Fraser Muir, Lachlan MacKay, Andrew Rutherford, Derek Sneddon, Craig Jardine, Adam Shaw, James Manners.
The club wish to thank the Stirling County Rugby Academy sponsors Kilgannon Motors of Bannockburn.