Rugby Union: Stanger sees the danger pass by

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Stirling County. . .8

Hawick. . . . . . .12

A FIRST league victory at Bridgehaugh ensured relegation-threatened Hawick's continuous link with the First Division and boosted a club who seemed devoid of ideas for stopping a serious decline.

Changed days from the 1970s when Hawick's run of league titles equalled the number of players they contributed to a Scotland team who played France - six.

Just how critical the situation had become was summed up by Tony Stanger, the team's sole current international, at the end of match in which a series of unforced errors by Stirling's backs were eagerly exploited.

'There was a time when Hawick took the field maybe not looking to keep the score down but aware that it would probably be beyond us to win certain matches,' Stanger said. 'The fact we've just won a match at Stirling I'm sure we'd have lost not long ago proves to me we've turned the corner.'

As the biggest of the towns down in the borders, the only part of Scotland where rugby is the major sport, Hawick has a vital role to play in nursing the game through any crisis.

Stirling scored the only try of the match when the flanker Gordon Mackay pounced on a line-out deflection but defeat was their second in a row at home and killed off any remote title chance.

Stirling County: Try Mackay; Penalty M McKenzie. Hawick: Penalties Welsh 2. Drop goals Welsh 2.

Stirling County: K Logan; A Turner, R Kennedy, I Jardine, K Thomson; M McKenzie, K Harper; J Gibson, K McKenzie, B Robertson, S Hamilton (capt), M Norval, D McVey, J Brough, G Mackay.

Hawick: G Oliver; B Pender, A Stanger, D Grant, K Suddon; S Welsh, K Reid; B McDonnell, J Hay (capt), K Scott, I Elliot, K Perkins, D Turnbull, D Willison, J Graham.

Referee: L Maclachlan (NZRFU).