BT Premiership

Stirling County ................................ 15

Currie .............................................. 29

AFTER three successive bonus-point wins in recent weeks, Stirling County let themselves down with a dismal performance at home to Currie, allowing the Edinburgh outfit to complete a league-double over the Bridgehaugh team. County remain in seventh position in the BT Premiership, and as they enter the second-half of the campaign, will need to get back to winning ways if they are to achieve their aspirations of a top-four finish.

The only changes to the County side which beat current champions Heriot’s the previous week were Sam Johnson at inside centre, Shaun McDonald at No.7 and Reyner Kennedy at hooker. Ed Howgate returned to the bench. Selkirk had former County winger Rory Hughes in their starting line-up, as a consequence of the vagaries of the professional player allocation system.

Currie opened the scoring after only 4 minutes play with a try under the posts from scrum-half Richard Sneddon, following numerous attacking phases through mid-channel. James Semple added the conversion to give the visitors an early seven-point lead.

County suffered a blow when forward Callum Hunter-Hill had to leave the field with a facial injury, with Ed Howgate taking his place in the second row.

On ten minutes Currie doubled their advantage when County full-back Dylan Taikato-Simpson was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball forward when trying to intercept a floating pass to the Currie winger. After consultation with his touch judge, the referee surprisingly awarded Currie a penalty try, converted by Semple, to take the score to 0 – 14.

County’s play was error-strewn with mis-placed field kicking, poor passing and a succession of missed tackle, giving Currie the majority of possession and territory, from which winger Rory Hughes took full advantage to stroll in unchallenged for the visitors’ third try after nineteen minutes; the conversion was missed.

Mark Hunter came on for Garry Mountford at prop and Alex Black replaced Patrick Nicol at scrum-half, as County tried to stem the tide and give themselves a stable platform to get their backs into match.

County stand-off Shaun Treweek put County on the scoreboard with a successful 40-metre penalty-kick on 26 minutes, after the visitors were penalised for not releasing in the tackle.

County’s Cammy Fenton came on for Reyner Kennedy at hooker, as Currie continued to press forward at every opportunity, but the County defence held out to the break to trail 19-3.

Currie began the second period as they had finished the first, putting County on the back- foot, and the Edinburgh side secured their deserved bonus-point victory with their fourth try touched down by captain Ross Weston, following a drive over from a 5-metre scrum. Semple kicked the conversion from the right-touchline to extend the visitors’ lead to 3 – 26 after 46 minutes.

County’s Danny Gilmour was replaced by Jonny Hope on the left-wing, before Currie’s forwards pushed County off a scrum in front of the home side’s posts and Semple kicked a simple penalty goal to give Currie a commanding 3 – 29 lead, with 52 minutes on the clock.

County responded in the closing stages with a push-over unconverted try scored by Mark Hunter in the right-hand corner following a penalty line-out, after 64 minutes.

The home-side then scored a consolation try with the last play of the match, with right winger Matt Lamb touching down in the right corner, converted by Treweek, but the game ended in defeat.

County’s next BT Premiership match is away to Selkirk on Saturday (14th November) - kick-off at Philiphaugh is 3pm. See Club website for full match preview. Thanks to County’s main sponsor United Auctions, and all others who continue to support the Club.

Stirling County: Dylan Taikato-Simpson, Danny Gilmour, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Matt Lamb, Shaun Treweek, Patrick Nicol; Colin Hutton, Reyner Kennedy, Garry Mountford, Callum Hunter-Hill, Ruaridh Leishman, Struan Robertson (capt.), Shaun McDonald, Vaka Manu.

Replacements: Cammy Fenton, Mark Hunter, Ed Howgate, Alex Black, Jonny Hope.