2nd XV vs Stirling County: Match Report
Partially due to the fact that it has been a week since the fixture – but mainly due to the fact that the interim 2nd XV manager and his assistant took it upon themselves to go in search of post-match refreshments for the team early in the second half – this match report may be slightly vague. But what it lacks in accuracy it makes up for in generic rugby phrases.
The 2nd XV travelled to Bridgehaugh with confidence high (off the back of a good win against Watsonians two weeks earlier) and with fresh legs (having had a weekend off). Stirling hadn’t played since early January so Stew Mel were keen to assert their dominance from the first whistle.
Stew Mel did just that and looked to be the stronger team in the early part of the game. The possession and territory stats leaned in favour of Stew Mel, but some indiscipline gave County a shot at goal; they took the 3 points well.
After 20 minutes, good patience from Stew Mel left a disorganised Stirling defence and simple hands gave Christy a chance to have a go out wide. He beat his man and managed to sneak in and touch down in the corner. The ref caught up with play a couple of minutes later to confirm it. Mickey was unable to convert and the score stayed 3-5.
Some good kicking from hand by Mickey allowed Stew Mel to dominate territory again, but, although the boys looked dangerous with ball in hand, keeping it in hand was a problem. The pre-match drizzle left the pitch greasy and muddy and both teams struggled to hold on to the ball. The rain rejoined proceedings around half time; this resulted in a scrappy game and left the total number of completed passes lower than either side would have hoped for.
Despite the conditions, Mickey stepped up and slotted a good penalty on 40 minutes to take the score to 3-8 at half time. It was obvious that the team that could do the basics well, hold on to the ball and take their limited chances would be ahead at full time.
Unfortunately, although Stew Mel were able to create chances, the last pass let them down and taking those chances proved easier said than done. Another penalty kick from Mickey was the only score Stew Mel were able to take from the second half, and, although the teams were still evenly matched with 20 minutes to go, a severe lack of concentration in defence from the boys in red, black and gold allowed Stirling County to score 3 tries in quick succession.
The second half score was 20-3 in favour of the home team and left a final score of 23-11.
Stew Mel will always prefer to play running rugby, but, in the conditions, it was perhaps necessary to reassess the game plan and play a tighter game. There are still a few games left to play, though, and it’s important that we keep working hard and finish the season strongly.