Stirling County 21-21 Melrose

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STIRLING COUNTY21

MELROSE21

Melrose were almost home and dry and set to return to the top of the Premiership table but a last ditch penalty turned four points into two as County drew the match.

Following their bruising defeat at Ayr the previous week the hosts were desperate to get their own campaign on track with a home victory at Bridgehaugh.

After seven minutes Stirling stole a Melrose line out that forced a midfield offside from Melrose and Jonny Hope kicked the penalty.

On 15 minutes Melrose had their first foray into the Stirling half which was stopped by two driving tackles and gave the hosts a relieving penalty. The kick to touch resulted in a catch and drive which was then shipped to the wing for Hope to run in an unconverted try.

The next 20 minutes saw Melrose take control. The visiting scrum was in the ascendency but resolute defence saw the ball held up over the line. Such was the determination of their hosts that it took Melrose until the 35th minute to get points on the board. Stirling had cleared their lines only to be caught offside and the penalty was kicked to touch. Melrose caught and drove with Grant Runciman scoring the try which Joe Helps converted to bring the score to 8-7 at half time.

After the restart it was Melrose who made the first attack resulting in a penalty from Helps to take the visitors into the lead. Half way through the half however that lead changed hands again when Shaun McDonald went in for a try.

Melrose pressed on and a penalty in the Stirling 22 allowed Helps to level the scores with a try from Neil Irvine-Hess putting them ahead.

Melrose looked as if they were home and dry with three minutes remaining when Helps slotted a penalty but the hosts were not willing to let it go that easily. Deep into injury time Jack Urquhart ran in a try and while Hope missed the conversion he made no mistake with an ensuing penalty to tie the game.