Wands broken

Stirling County 40

Gala Wanderers 14


Gala Wanderers’ hope of reaching the final of the cup were dashed at Bridgehaugh last week after defeat to defending champions Stirling County in a match that was always going to be difficult for the Borderers, writes Alan Lorimer.

Despite coming into the semi-final having played only 12 matches this season, and half of these almost meaningless games, Stirling were favourites to win the penultimate stage of the competition – simply because of the international experience in their pack and the confidence of being title holders.

In the event ,County confirmed this prediction by running in six tries to secure their place in the final, the margin of victory, however, somewhat flattering the Stirling performance.

“The scoreline was not a real reflection of the game” said Wanderers’ coach, Ian Millar, adding: “We coped very well with what was a very experienced Stirling pack.

“Maybe some of the younger players found the going tough, but we played some good rugby to contribute to what was an excellent advert for the game at this level.”

Stirling led 21-0 at half-time with tries by full back Martin Hall, prop Jamie Bhatti and stand-off Jack Urquhart. Then after the break, Gala got reward for their determination to play attacking rugby with tries by Keith Young and Gregor Mein, who converted both scores. But with Stirling adding tries from centre Archie Russell, replacement scrum half Ciaran Wood, and Urquhart, who landed five conversion kicks in total, it was County’s night.

Gala Wanderers: A. Williams; F. Welsh, J. Parker, G. Mein, M. Lemmon; R. Jeffrey, G. Hamilton; K. Austin, K. Bennett, J. Hearnden, L. Scott, B. Reevley, M. Howarth, H. Brown, J. Irvine. Subs: R. Paterson, R. Horsburgh, G. Millar, K. Young, L. Armstrong, S. Anderson.