Stirling make it a battle for reigning champions

Melrose RFC's Richard Mill

Melrose RFC's Richard Mill

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Stirling County23

Melrose18

Only two of the 10 clubs in the BT Premiership have won both of their opening encounters, and Melrose aren’t one of them.

The Champions struggled against a tremendous defensive display from their opponents, although they did come away with a losing bonus point for their efforts.

Melrose director of rugby Mike Dalgetty said: “It was a bit of a strange performance, our set piece was dominant and we had enough chances to win several games.

“However, having possession is one thing, keeping it and doing the right things with it another.”

County made the early running and went ahead in the fourth minute when Jamie Bhatti touched down.

Melrose responded immediately and put County under pressure before Lewis Carmichael broke off a 5m scrum to score a try and level the scores.

A penalty from full-back Jamie Urquhart saw the hosts in the ascendancy, while an a Ally Price try widened the gap.Melrose kept in touch with two successful penalty kicks by Richard Mill to make it 13-11 at the break.

Glasgow pro player Rory Hughes touched down after the restart to pull County away again, Urquhart converting, but when the hosts were hit by a double sin-binning, Melrose took full advantage to earn themselves a penalty try, Mill converting, to take the score to within two points.

With numbers restored the hosts increased the pressure and an Urquhart penalty sealed the win.