RUGBY UNION : Logan secures title for Stirling

Bill Leith salutes the rise of a new power in Scotland
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Stirling County had to wait five tension-packed minutes after beating Boroughmuir 13-9 before learning that Watsonians had slipped up, making the Scottish Division One title theirs.

The implications of Stirling becoming the first club from outside of Edinburgh or the Borders to take the title will be profound, and even inspirational, at a time when the Scottish Rugby Union is intensely aware of the need to take the game into new areas.

Stirling sit on the edge of the most densely populated region of Scotland and, through selling rugby with a missionary-like zeal, the club has already brought in many converts.

Their three internationals, Kenny Logan, Ian Jardine and Kevin McKenzie, are products of one of the most prolific rugby nurseries in Scotland. And the attendance at Bridgehough was approximately eight times the 541 who paid to see Stirling Albion FC play just along the road.

Stirling have also had the initiative to broaden their horizons, an example being the taking of an away fixture with Northampton on Boxing Day.

That experience was a factor in the struggle to subdue Boroughmuir, according to Stirling's coach Brian Edwards, who said: "We've had to endure big hits and long spells of pressure just as we did at Northampton. The tension got to us but we made it in the end."

That Stirling were able to capitalise on Watsonians defeat by West owed much to the growing maturity of Logan, who created the only try, with a 60-metre break, and landed a conversion and a penalty.

Logan rarely kicks goals these days but his sense of occasion is immaculate. "The game was crying out to be taken by the scruff of the neck. Somebody had to do it," he said.

Twenty years ago, Stirling were in Division Seven. Ian Jardine, absent with injuries sustained in Scotland's win over France, summed up the achievement, saying: "Now others are going to come looking to mould their set-ups on ours."

Stirling County: Try Turner; Conversion Logan; Penalties Logan, M McKenzie. Boroughmuir: Penalties Easson 3.

Stirling County: C Sangster; A Turner, R Kennedy, M McGrandles, K Logan; M McKenzie, K Harper; J Gibson, K McKenzie, B Robertson (S Cameron, 51), S Hamilton (capt) G Norvill, G Flockhart, J Brough, B Ireland.

Boroughmuir: N Mardon (D Mcrae, 49); D Stark, S Lineen, D Laird, A Miller; B Easson, A Knight; G Wilson, N Dickson, P Wright, D Burns, P Jennings, G Hepburn, S Reid (capt), G Drummond.

Referee: E Murray (Greenock Wanderers).