BT Premiership Currie 23 - 22 Stirling County A solid ‘backs-to-the-wall’ defensive effort by Stirling County, playing the entire second-half a man down, gained the Bridgehaugh men a well-earned losing bonus-point in a tight BT Premiership match at a wet and blustery Malleny Park.

Rory Hughes returned from Scotland Sevens duty in Australia to take his place on the left-wing in the only change to the side that won at Hawick last week.

New front-row recruit Cammy Fenton, an elite development player with Glasgow Warriors, was on the bench.

Currie struck first after only five minutes with an unconverted try from winger Malcolm Peacock, but County responded with a 35-metre penalty kick from Jonny Hope after Currie failed to release in the tackle, reducing the leeway to 5–3 after 14 minutes.

Three minutes later, Shaun McDonald stole the home side’s errant line-out throw, and the ball was quickly shipped from left to right for winger Matt Lamb to touchdown in the corner. The conversion was missed, but County edged into a 5–8 lead.

On 25 minutes, County pushed Currie off the scrum on half-way and Lyle kicked the resultant penalty into the left corner.

From the line-out, County were able to catch out the hosts to drive over the Currie line for Jamie Bhatti to touch down. Hope converted the try to increase County’s lead to 5–15.

From the re-start, Currie applied a spell of concerted pressure, but County’s defense stood firm.

With half-time approaching, Currie were awarded a scrum after County knocked on and following a succession of forward drives, the home side were awarded a penalty under the posts.

Before Currie’s stand-off Joe Reynolds kicked the penalty, an intervention by the stand-side touch judge led to a surprising red-card for County’s hooker Reyner Kennedy for alleged unseen dangerous play, reducing the visitors to 14-men, with 40 minutes remaining. This was to prove the key turning point in the match as the sides went it at the interval with County leading 15-8.

Currie exploited their numerical advantage and County, facing the elements, were on the back-foot right from the re-start.

Currie reduced County’s lead with a successful penalty kick by Reynolds in front of the posts, with 50 minutes played.

From the re-start kick, Currie won possession in their own half, and quickly attacked with Reynold finishing off the move to score a try, which he converted, giving the home side an 18–15 lead on 52 minutes.

The visitors rallied and on 58 minutes, from a scrum in their own 22, County ran the ball up field, with Price, Black, Danny Gilmour and Hughes prominent in the move, which was finished off in style by Price, who squeezed past the Currie defence to score a try in the corner, converted by Hope to give County a 22-18 lead.

County fought bravely as in the closing stages as they were pinned back in their own half, but in the 72nd minute, the home pack pushed the visitors over their own try line for Currie captain Ross Weston to touchdown and score the winning unconverted try.

County refused to wilt in the closing stages, testament to their all-round team work, commitment and fitness, and held out for a valuable losing bonus-point.