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Bedford give County the Blues


British & Irish Cup - Pool 2

Bedford Blues 87 - Stirling County 10

Stirling County travelled south on Saturday with a degree of optimism, following their opening day win in the British & Irish Cup against Neath the previous week, to take on Bedford Blues, who are currently second-top of the English Championship. Stuart Edwards returned at stand-off with Brian Archibald moving to centre. There were no allocated professional players available to County for this match.

County found it tough going from the start at Goldington Road, losing a simple try in the first minute, when Bedford moved the ball wide and winger Mark Kohler scored in the right corner. County responded with a Brian Archibald penalty on 9 minutes after the Blues didn’t release in the tackle. However, carelessness by County over-throwing a penalty line-out in the Bedford 22, gifted the home side possession and their speedy backs exploited the space on the right for full-back James Pritchard to score and convert his try, giving Bedford a 12 - 3 lead after 14 minutes. Colin Hutton came on for Mike MacDonald (left), but a lethargic County couldn't retain any possession and Bedford were much slicker at moving the ball around the pitch.

It was one-way traffic with the home side running in five more tries before the break scored by Luke Baldwin (25 minutes), Darren Fearn (30 minutes), Kohler (33 minutes), Paul Tupai (37 minutes) and Joe Vandermolem (40 minutes), all converted by Pritchard, without response to make the half-time score 47-3 in the Blues favour.

County made changes at half-time, with Struan Robertson coming on for Stevie Swindall, Tim Clarke replacing Ruaridh Leishman, and Ross Aitken returning for Matt Lamb, but the visitors couldn't make any impact on the home defenceMoff is stopped, and Bedford scored a further six tries through Baldwin, Atkinson, Darren Fox, Pritchard, Brendan Burke and a late penalty try, with five converted by Pritchard. Stuart Edwards broke clear to kick ahead and touchdown on 50 minutes, converted by Archibald.

Scorers: Bedford Blues - Tries: Kohler (2), Pritchard (2), Baldwin (2), Fearn, Tupai, Vandermolen, Atkinson, Fox, Burke, Penalty Try. Conv.: Pritchard (11).

Stirling County - Try: Edwards. Conv.: Archibald. Pen.: Archibald.

Bedford Blues:. Pritchard (capt.), Kohler, Burke, Atkinson, Basset, Sharp, Baldwin; Fearn, Cochrane, Cooper, Tupai, Rae, Gillanders, Fox, Vandermolen. Replacements: Seal, Boulton, Howard, Barrell, Harding, Price, Dodge.

Stirling County: Addison, Lindsay, Gilmour, Archibald, Lamb, Edwards, S Kennedy; MacDonald, Moffat (capt.), Mountford, Leishman, Deacons, Ashe, Boswell, Swindall. Replacements: Hutton, R Kennedy, Clarke, Gillies, Hope, Aitken, Robertson.

Referee: E H O’Connell (IRFU).

Next Saturday (27 October) County return to the RBS pmiership when they travel to the Borders looking to avenge the opening day defeat by Melrose. Kick-off at The Greenyards is 3pm.

Thanks to County’s main sponsor Ondeo Industrial Solutions and all others who continue to support the Club.

Rugby Round-up:

Stirling County’s 2nd XV match against Dundee in their RBS National Reserve League One match at Bridgehaugh was postponed due to waterlogged pitches. Next Saturday the seconds are also away to Melrose -kick off is 3pm.

Stirling County - Bridgehaugh's match away to Perthshire 2nd XV in Caledonia Midland League Three West was also postponed. Next Saturday Bridgehaugh are away to Falkirk 2nd XV - kick-off is 3pm.

Stirling County’s Under 18s play Glasgow Hawks in a cross-region friendly at Bridgehaugh next Saturday - kick-off 1pm.

Members are reminded that the next p-match lunch is onSaturday 3 Novemberbefore the next home RBS pmiership match against Heriot’s. Please contact Alastair Cunningham on 07718 922284 or the Club Office on 01786-478866 to book your place.

Before that, the next popular monthly Members’ (and guests) Evening will be held thisFriday 26 October at 7:30pm in the Crichton Lounge - all welcome. Come along, enjoy a bite to eat, participate in a music quiz and see if you’ve won the monthly 200 Club prize draw. Food + a Drink is £6 pp. Let the Club know if you and your friends are coming - phone 01786-478866.

Report by Kevin Robertson

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