Rugby Union: Hamilton on the spot

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The Independent Online
Currie 7

Stirling County 13

STIRLING COUNTY roll on unbeaten at the top of the McEwan's League and continued success could soon mean sacrifice for Stirling's captain, Stewart Hamilton, who is contemplating what would not long ago have been the unthinkable - withdrawing from a rugby tour.

For Hamilton, touring is a serious business and he has guested for, among others, Esher in California; London Scottish in Australia; West of Scotland in Canada; Harlequins in Spain and the Co-Optimists Select in Zimbabwe.

It is a measure of his commitment that he is prepared to forego a visit to the World Veterans Classic in Bermuda next month in deference to a league engagement with Edinburgh Academicals.

To keep the momentum going against a Currie side coached by the former England colt Paul Matthews, Stirling were indebted to a try by the teenager Matt McGrandles.

'This is undoubtedly the best Stirling side I've played in, and a championship before I bow out, probably at the end of the season, is not impossible,' Hamilton said.

In particular, Stirling have a powerful back row and three-quarter pace, exemplified by the international wing Kenny Logan. All they appear to lack is some self-belief.

In contrast, Currie have hit the buffers and Matthews has a hard task to keep them on track in the First Divsion, especially with the experienced stand-off Ally Donaldson struggling to shake off the effects of a broken jaw he suffered at the end of last season.

Currie: Try Dickson; Conversion Donaldson. Stirling County: Try McGrandles; Conversion M McKenzie; Drop goal M McKenzie; Penalty Williamson.

Currie: D Wilson; C Robertson, M Plumb, M Te Whaiti, W Weatherhead; A Donaldson (capt), R Dickson; G Camps, G Ellis, C Boyd, G Hamilton, R Johnston, B Ward, M Blair (I Russell, 60), R McCrodden.

Stirling County: S Williamson; A Turner, M McGrandles, I Jardine, K Logan; M McKenzie, M Robertson; J Gibson, K McKenzie, B Robertson, M Norval, S Hamilton (capt), B Ireland, J Brough, G Mackay.

Referee: K Harrower (Forrester).