Premier 2 Rugby at Walkerburn
Stirling grapples win away from Peebles
Peebles 19 Stirling County 24
Caberston Haugh Walkerburn
3 April 2010
As the sun shone down on the snowy hills, Peebles kicked off against Stirling, at Walkerburn’s Caberston Haugh, in the place of the waterlogged Gytes. Within minutes however, Stirling showed that even though neither side had anything to gain from this game, they were still in it to win it. No. 12 Brian Archibald kicked at goal from a penalty, and scored to open the scoring 3 minutes into the game. Peebles soon got their own back though, after an original break the ball was offloaded, went to ground, and after some quick ball by the backs, Neil Warnock ran into score, and the conversion was kicked to take Peebles into the lead. Stirling started to attack again though, and after multiple well kicked penalties from difficult positions, at 18 minutes, 24 minutes, and 26 minutes by centre Brian Archibald again, they had stolen back the lead from Peebles, with the score7 points to Peebles, 12 points to Stirling. Stirling kept up their attack, however, trying to get a try before half time, but Peebles responded well with a good clearance kick. Peebles closed the gap to 2 points with 4 minutes of the first half left, with a penalty kick from near touch, and then drew into the lead again just before the half time whistle sounded with another penalty, awarded after some illegal play by Stirling in the scrum. This was kicked over to end the half Peebles 13 points, Stirling 12 points, and a very tight game.
Neither Peebles, stuck right in the middle of the hydro electric premier two table, or Stirling, getting promoted without a doubt, had anything to gain from this game, but it was fought by both sides as if it were a relegation play off giving a really exciting first half.
Stirling started the second half on the attack, hoping to get an early lead, but after an injury early in the second half, and the touch calling a Peebles penalty, with a lot of help from the Peebles spectators, it seemed their attempts had been foiled. Shortly after a series of substitutions by Peebles, with Trevor Keen and Adam Clark going off for Willie Aitken and Ryan McConnell, they managed to get their first 7 points. For a while, the Peebles forwards held off the Stirling pack, but just as they seemed to be pushing back, a breakaway occurred, and Stirling scored in between the posts, and an easy conversion followed. Peebles responded rapidly though, and within a minute closed the gap to 16-19, with a penalty which was kicked from in front of the po0sts, and went over easily by Donald Andersons boot. Peebles were playing well, and looked to regain the lead, but a bad pass out of a scrum on the Stirling ten metre line allowed Stirling to steal the ball out of the air. Another breakaway ensued, with no.14 Graham Lindsay running all the way down the park and scoring for Stirling. The conversion however, luckily for Peebles missed, and this meant Peebles still had a chance to win the game. Peebles kept on attacking, conscious that one score would get them the bonus point, and another would win the game for them. However they had multiple chances to take three points, leaving them all in favour of going for a big try. This turned out to be the wrong decision though, as in the end they were decided to get the bonus, and kicked an easy penalty over the posts to make the score Peebles 19, Stirling 24. They had a few minutes left of injury time though, and they pushed forwards in these last few minutes to get the points that would draw or win the game, but it was not to be, as the final whistle sounded.
It had been a great effort by both sides, who had nothing to gain from this game. A last minute push by Peebles had got them the bonus point, but it had not been enough to stop a strong Stirling side winning the day.