Stirling Wolves hosted Boroughmuir Bears on Saturday afternoon in their opening match of the 2022 FOSROC Super6 Championship.
Wolves were hit with an immediate setback as Ryan Southern sustained an injury less than a minute in and was replaced by Logan Jarvie.
Boroughmuir took the lead seven minutes in as Jack Bergin converted a penalty that had been given away for a no-arms tackle. [0-3]
Stirling’s injury woes continued, with two more players coming off in quick succession of each other. Harris McLeod came on to replace George Arnott in the 14th minute and Callum Stephen came on for Finlay Callaghan in the 16th.
After a succession of pick and go’s just in front of the Wolves try-line, Boroughmuir fed the ball out wide for Scott Robeson to score the first try of the afternoon in the 18th minute. Bergin converted successfully. [0-10]
Stirling hit back just a few minutes later as Marcus Holden drove down the right-hand side before offloading to Gregor Christie to score Wolves’ first try of the match. Holden was unable to make the conversion. [5-10]
Bears then had a prolonged spell of pressure but Stirling managed to keep them away from their try-line. They did however extend their lead in the 33rd minute when Bergin hit home a long-range penalty. [5-13]
This spurred Wolves into action and it was now their turn to put pressure on the Bears’ defence. The pressure paid off when Lewis Skinner drove home from a line-out maul with the last action of the half. [10-13]
HT: Stirling Wolves 10-13 Boroughmuir Bears
Stirling brought Gregor Hiddleston on for the start of the second half, replacing Rhodri Tanner.
Boroughmuir started the half the brighter side, with Craig Keddie making it over the line in the 46th minute before Bergin again converted. [10-20]
The Bears then scored again as Callum Smith burst through the Wolves defence in the 57th minute. Bergin converted successfully. [10-27]
Stirling made a triple substitution in response, with Euan Cunningham, Cameron MacMillan and Callum Cruickshank all coming onto the pitch, and Callum Beckett, John Mckenna and Hamish Ferguson making way.
The Wolves defence held strong as Boroughmuir pushed for a bonus try. George Breese then came on in the 72nd minute to replace Lewis Skinner as Wolves suffered yet another injury. Some late Stirling pressure followed, however they were unable to make their way through the Bears’ defence in the closing stages.
FT: Stirling Wolves 10-27 Boroughmuir Bears
Ben Cairns was asked his thoughts on the match:
“It was really frustrating. If the boys want excuses, there’s excuses there. We were obviously bare bones in terms of squad, 22 fit players with Callum Stephen coming in to make up the 23. We’ve then had three injuries in the first 16 minutes, so there’s excuses there in terms of why it’s gone the way it’s gone.
Even after all of that, the fact that we went in at half-time 13-10 down, we were massively in the game. To not get any reaction or shift in momentum in the second half is probably the most disappointing. We were a little bit accepting of it. The guys tried to solve things on their own rather than doing it collectively. That mentality and urgency to try and change the momentum of the game just wasn’t there.
If you were going to ask me when I’d rather be stretched in terms of the squad, the start of the season or the end, I’d much rather it be now. Hopefully by the end of the season as we’re coming up to the playoffs we’ll be up there challenging.”
Match report by Andrew MacInnes
Stirling Wolves: 15. Marcus Holden (C), 14. Stevie Hamilton, 13. Ryan Southern, 12. Craig Jardine, 11. Finlay Callaghan, 10. Callum Beckett, 9. Gregor Christie; 1. John McKenna, 2. Rhodri Tanner, 3. Lewis Skinner, 4. James Pow, 5. Hamish Ferguson, 6. George Arnott, 7. Connor Gordon (C), 8. Benedict Grant.
Replacements: 16. Gregor Hiddleston, 17. Cameron MacMillan, 18. George Breese, 19. Harris McLeod, 20. Callum Cruickshank, 21. Euan Cunningham, 22. Callum Stephen, 23. Logan Jarvie.
Boroughmuir Bears: 15. Tom Brown, 14. Callum Ramm, 13. Ronan Kerr, 12. Scott Robeson, 11. Joe Jenkins, 10. Jack Bergin, 9. Ruairidh Swan; 1. Callum Smith, 2. Corey Tait, 3. Martin McGinley, 4. Jack Fisher, 5. Callum Atkinson, 6. Craig Keddie (C), 7. Scott McGinley, 8. Trystan Andrews.
Replacements: 16. Finn Duraj, 17. Brandon Sweet, 18. Marcus Goodwin, 19. Luca Alessandri, 20. Josh King, 21. Tom Lanni, 22. Adam Scott, 23. Paul Bogie
Referee: Ian Kenny
AR1: Michael Todd
AR2: George Pounder
Stirling Wolves: TRY: Christie, Skinner.
Boroughmuir Bears: TRY: Robeson, Keddie, Smith; CON: Bergin 3; PEN: Bergin 2.
FOSROC Player of the Match
Jack Fisher (Boroughmuir Bears)