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Currie :27 - Stirling County :24
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 17.9.16

Currie 27 pts (t 4, c 2, pg 1) v Stirling County 24 pts (t 3, c 3, pg 1)

This looked like being a crucial match for two teams who have not had the best of starts to the new season. A positive outcome, so early in the campaign may not be a defining moment, but victory would certainly boost confidence for either of these young talented sides. With just 20 minutes remaining, the visitors had established a healthy 16 point lead, but as Currie have shown in recent games, they don’t give up easily. The Malleny team kept playing attacking rugby and ran in three tries; the last, on 80 minutes, sealed the win.

Early play was dictated by a beefy bullying Stirling pack who mechanically recycled and kept Currie pinned down. Jamie Forbes, newly recovered from injury, and the splendid Rhys Davies did make a couple of breaks that temporarily relieved the pressure, but unfortunately they ran out of support with the Stirling line in sight. The organised visitors regrouped and started to build again. Currie found difficulty in getting any possession, and were forced to defend deeper and deeper with more of their resources sucked into each breakdown. It was no surprise when stand-off, Ross Jones, danced through a gap to score; Jonny Hope converted.

Currie immediately responded with a well-taken Jamie Forbes penalty, which acted as a stimulus for more attacks. On a number of occasions poor handling, indiscipline and a foot in touch prevented them from scoring, but the Malleny team continued to press. Eventually hard-working prop, Graeme Carson crashed over following fine close quarter work by the Currie pack; Hamish Bain, Steven Ainslie and Ross Weston were prominent in the move.

The home team looked to have spiked the Stirling guns and were now playing with confidence and adventure; possibly a little too much of the later. If a long looping miss-pass on half-way had connected with a two man overlap, points were almost guaranteed. Unfortunately the big Stirling lock, Alex Taylor, plucked the ball from the air, ran twenty metres and put Fraser Lyle in under the posts; Jonny Hope had a easy conversion. Momentum now swung to the visitors, Ross Jones kicked a long-range penalty goal on halftime.
Halftime score – Currie 8 pts, Stirling County 17 pts.
Currie started the second half in robust style and were soon camped in the opposition 22. A series of attacks that were punctuated by unforced errors and a dogged Stirling defence, kept Currie at bay. The alert Jamie Forbes took a quick tap penalty and it looked as if he had scored in the corner, but this, along with a pushover try, was over-ruled. To make matters worse, the home team collected a yellow card for shirt pulling. Stirling cleared the danger and reverted to their power game of the first half. Their forwards went through the phases meticulously to create a platform for their backs. Jake Cresswell turned the Currie defence inside out with an elusive run; his final pass was taken by giant prop, Adam Nicol, who accelerated like a sports car for the line. Jonny Hope converted and stretched Stirling’s advantage to 16 points with 20 minutes remaining.

Although the sun was shining the situation looked very dark for Currie, but their battling attitude and team-work produced quite a bit of magic in the final quarter. Versatile back row forward, Thomas Gordon, had to move to the wing where his defensive skills and speed were used to advantage. He stripped an attacking ball carrier and started a wonderfully exciting move from the Currie 22. It was now the home team’s turn to recycle and make ground; the visitors’ defence was stretched, but functioning efficiently. When the agile Fergus Scott ran out of room just past halfway, he managed an ambitious chip kick for his wing to chase; Thomas Gordon stormed forward on what looked like a lost cause; the ball squirted from the grasp of a covering Stirling defender and Thomas Gordon touched down for an unconverted try. A few minutes later, Charlie Shiel popped a nifty inside pass to Cammy Gray; his angled run for the posts was converted by Jamie Forbes. With seven minutes remaining, it looked like mission impossible, however, this young Currie team has spirit, and did they show it in the closing stages! Foxy John Cox was everywhere and leading by example; the prop exploited a gap that took Currie to the Stirling line; excitement and frustration mounted. In extra time, Stirling gained a penalty, but the resulting lineout was over-thrown, the ball was turned over and after a couple of phases; Charlie Shiel streaked in under the posts; Jamie Forbes converted. This was an astonishing end to a very entertaining match. Myreside next weekend, KO 3.00pm. IJS, 18.9.16

Updated 17/09/2016 by Ian Gidney