Stirling County travelled to Melrose on Friday evening to face Southern Knights in their third match of the FOSROC Super6 Sprint Series.
The home side took an early lead in the match when they were awarded a penalty in the 4th minute after a high tackle from County. Ben Afshar made the kick from distance to open the scoring. [3-0]
County rode out some further Knights pressure following the penalty, before some good attacking play in the 10th minute was finished off in the corner by Ross McKnight for the first try of the evening. Marcus Holden’s kick from a wide angle fell just short. [3-5]
A couple of early injuries then forced Knights into making two first half replacements as Daniel Sudden and Iain Sim made way for Ruaridh Knott and Jacob Henry respectively.
County extended their lead in the 34th minute when Gregor Hiddleston got the ball down in the corner after a well-worked line-out routine. Holden converted, with his kick coming off the inside of the post on its way over. [3-12]
HT: Southern Knights 3-12 Stirling County
Knights made further changes at half-time with Murray Redpath replacing Ben Afshar and Natan Chamberlain coming on for Robbie Chalmers.
The home side started the second half brightly and made their way back into the game when Fraser Renwick’s 42nd minute try under the post was converted by Nathan Chamberlain. [10-12]
George Breese was then brought on for County to replace Cameron MacMillan.
County then made a double change in the 48th minute. Mike Gray replaced the injured Walter Fifita to make his County debut, while Finlay Burgess was also brought on in place of Harry Russell.
Knights were then shown a red card in the 50th minute after Jacob Henry collided with the airborne Mike Gray, resulting in the County player landing on his neck. Fortunately, there was no injury to Gray, with both players shaking hands as Henry left the pitch.
Angus Fraser was brought on for County, replacing Gregor Hiddleston during the stoppage.
County piled on the pressure, quickly making the most of their man advantage when Lewis Skinner drove over the line in the 52nd minute. Despite picking up a knock a few moments earlier, Holden stepped up to take the kick but was unable to convert. [10-17]
Knights made a further change as Corey Bowker replaced Isaac Brace in the 57th minute.
A few changes in quick succession began with County bringing on John McKenna for Lewis Skinner in the 65th minute. Knights then replaced Dalton Redpath with James Bett in the 67th minute before they were hit with another injury, forcing Rudi Brown to make way for Aidan Cross a minute later.
County were relentless in their attacking during the final 10 minutes, as they pushed for a bonus point try. This finally came in the 78th minute when the ball was moved wide, stretching the Knights defence and allowing DJ Innes to find a gap to score. Holden’s conversion wrapped up the win. [10-24]
County made a trio of replacements in the closing stages, as debutants Callum Beckett and Jake Spurway were brought on for Marcus Holden and Benedict Grant respectively, with Callum Norrie also coming on for Harris McLeod.
FT: Southern Knights 10-24 Stirling County
Ben Cairns was asked his thoughts on the match:
“Yeah, really happy. The great thing about this Super6 competition being in its infancy and being in it from the start means you get opportunities almost every week to make history. That’s our first ever win against Southern Knights. So that’s what we talked about all week, coming down here to make history as they were the only team we hadn’t beaten in Super6, so we’ve got that monkey off our back now.
We’re pleased with the control we showed and I thought the defensive effort set the tone for the whole match. I think we could have been more accurate in attack and put a bit more pressure on them in the right areas. But every time we lost the ball that next defensive set, we stood up well and then got the ball back in good areas for us.”
Match report by Andrew MacInnes
Southern Knights: 15. Kieran Clark, 14. Ian Simm, 13. Billy Warra, 12. Robbie Chalmers, 11. Patrick Anderson, 10. Cameron Scott, 9. Ben Afshar; 1. Grant Shiels, 2. Fraser Renwick (C), 3. Issac Brace, 4. Dalton Redpath, 5. Daniel Suddon, 6. Rudi Brown, 7. Wallace Nelson, 8. Harry Bothwick.
Replacements: 16. James Bett, 17. Corey Bowker, 18. Bruce Riddell, 19. Ruaridh Knott, 20. Murray Redpath, 21. Aidan Cross, 22. Nathan Chamberlain, 23. Jacob Henry.
Stirling County: 15. Logan Trotter, 14. Ross McKnight, 13. DJ Innes, 12. Marcus Holden (C), 11. Walter Fifita, 10. Euan Cunningham, 9. Harry Russell; 1. Cameron MacMillan, 2. Gregor Hiddleston, 3. Lewis Skinner, 4. James Pow, 5. Harris McLeod, 6. Hamish Ferguson, 7. Connor Gordon, 8. Benedict Grant.
Replacements: 16. Angus Fraser, 17. John McKenna, 18. George Breese, 19. Callum Norrie, 20. Jake Spurway, 21. Finlay Burgess, 22. Callum Beckett, 23. Mike Gray.
Referee: Ruairidh Campbell
Southern Knights: TRY: Renwick; CON: Chamberlain; PEN: Afshar
Stirling County: TRY: McKnight, Hiddleston, Skinner, Innes; CON: Holden 2
FOSROC Player of the Match
Logan Trotter (Stirling County)