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Stirling County :19 - Currie : 27
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 10.12.16

Stirling County 19 pts (t 3, c 2) v Currie 27 pts (t 4, c 2, pg 1)

The grey December day looked even gloomier for Currie at halftime. Stirling had absorbed plenty of Currie pressure and opened up the visitors with some quick thinking, speed and brilliant handling to run in three tries before the break. Currie’s second half task looked tough, but once again they showed remarkable resilience to overcome a fourteen point lead with an admirable team performance; it left the opposition wondering what had hit them, and cruelly denied them a losing bonus point for their gutsy efforts.

Currie started the match in lively fashion, as wave after wave of attacking rugby was repelled by a stout Stirling defence; the visitors’ propensity to lose the ball at critical times when deep in the opposition 22, did not help their cause. Ratu Tagive, the released Glasgow Warriors’ wing, certainly lived up to his professional tag this weekend; his defence and attacking skills were on show from the start, and a dashing interception, which should have resulted in a score; unfortunately several other Currie opportunities also went begging. On almost the first occasion that Stirling ventured into the Currie 22 they scored; from deep in their own half, some tremendous inter-passing between the sprightly Stirling backs had Currie looking vulnerable; Craig Pringle barged through the defence, and following some nifty pick-and-drive play, forward Adam Sinclair stormed through a gap wider than Glen Devon; Jonny Hope had no problem with the easy conversion.

On twenty minutes, and after another period of Currie pressure, when they again failed to hang on to the ball, Jonny Hope seized on a turnover and sent a long pass to Craig Pringle who motored into space down the right touchline; Matt Donaldson was in support for a try that was not converted. Finally Currie did get their act together with a sweeping move; Luke Crosbie, Graham Carson and Ross Weston had all gone close; however it was some sweet handling by the backs that put Harvey Elms in at the corner. The try was not converted, but the visitors looked to have found their form. Another flowing attack had Ben Robbins over the try line; unfortunately the referee pulled back play for a forward pass. The Stirling scrum was causing Currie problems, they gained a penalty, and play quickly went to the other end. The host moved the ball with confidence and another display of quality handling saw Craig Pringle score; Jonny Hope converted. Things did not look good for the visitors.
Halftime score – Stirling County 19 pts, Currie 5 pts.
From the re-start, Currie eradicated their first half failings and looked a transformed team. A passage of scintillating rugby went from wing to wing before the electric Harvey Elms squeezed over near the corner flag. A tremendous Jamie Forbes conversion added the extras. The now rampant visitors continued to press, but Stirling’s defence proved difficult to break down, and on a couple of occasion they made ground with dangerous counter-attacks; if it was not for a breath-taking tackle from Cameron Hutchison, the Bridgehaugh team would have extended their lead.

The tackling from both sides was ferocious, but the advantage swung Currie’s way when Stirling were yellow-carded for a high tackle. Jamie Forbes kicked the resulting penalty to the five metre line, and the Currie pack did the rest. Steven Ainslie’s pushover try was converted by Jamie Forbes; this put his team within touching distance of their opponents score.

When Stirling moved the ball wide, their speedy advances had Currie back-pedalling to stem their ambitions; several promising attacks went very close, but a well-organised defence, coupled with some handling errors, curtailed any progress. A thoughtless casual pass inside the Currie 22 was intercepted by the alert Ben Robins; the capable winger roared up the pitch with the Stirling team in his wake. Jamie Forbes converted the try and as the clock ticked down, he added a penalty goal to keep a safe margin between the teams; this also denied the battling Stirling outfit a losing bonus point, something that they surely deserved for their worthy performance.

Next weekend Currie play Watsonians at Malleny Park. At this mouth-watering local Derby the home team will be keen to avenge their defeat of earlier in the season. Remember that the KO time is now at 2.00pm; the annual Christmas lunch is at 12.15pm in the clubhouse. IJS, 11.12.16.

Updated 12/12/2016 by Ian Gidney