Rugby Union: Stirling just draw their deserts

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The Independent Online
Edinburgh Academicals. . .13

Stirling County. . . . . .13

BILL McLAREN marked reaching three score years and 10 with a commentary assignment at Raeburn Place: undoubtedly he has had better birthday treats than a colourless match which Stirling drew with a converted try seven minutes into injury time.

While some Edinburgh Academicals reckoned another version of the Old Bill should investigate why so much overtime was necessary a draw was the fair result. But those Stirling players who leapt for joy when Mark Mackenzie's angled kick bisect the uprights had to answer afterwards to the skipper, Stewart Hamilton, who said: 'I consider that a point dropped and there was no excuse for those sort of scenes.'

Nevertheless, the result does leave Stirling tucked in nicely behind the joint leaders, Melrose, Gala and Heriot's as the leagues take a two-week break. Accies' challenge is effectively over.

Despite Hamilton's remarks some Stirling players had cause for personal celebration. The replacement forward, David McVey, for example, was entitled to feel a few minutes on the field was at least some reward for twice-weekly journeys, sometimes by fishing boat, from his home on the Isle of Bute, a 200-mile round trip.

Kevin Mackenzie, the hooker who claimed he had miscalculated the score and thought his side had won, helped himself to five strikes against the head. That Stirling were unable to convert this possession into points was mainly down to dogged defence and determined rucking by an Accies side in which the foraging Dave McIvor excelled.

There was also a lack of penetration too in a Stirling back division featuring Ian Jardine, a centre being heavily tipped for a debut cap against the All Blacks next month. Forthcoming representative matches will see Jardine under pressure to reveal greater distributive skills before ousting Graham Shiel.

Edinburgh Academcials: Try Mitchell; Conversion Hay-Smith; Penalties Hay-Smith 2. Stirling County: Try Mackay; Conversion M Mackenzie; Penalties M Mackenzie 2.

Edinburgh Academicals: S Burns; R Porter, R Shepherd, C Simmers, F Swanson; B Hay-Smith, D Patterson; N Griffiths, P Haslett (G Corbett, 60), B Stewart, A Adamson, J Richardson, D Mitchell, R Wainwright, D McIvor.

Stirling County: K Logan; A Turner, J Wright, I Jardine, R Mailer; M Mackenzie, K Harper; J Gibson, K Mackenzie, B Robertson, S Hamilton, M Norval, G Mackay, J Brough, B Ireland (D McVey, 70).

Referee: J Bacigalupo (Edinburgh Wanderers).