Scotland props Ed Kalman and Jon Welsh both played 40 minutes for Stirling County yesterday as the Bridgehaugh side pushed Bedford Blues all the way before losing out 24-21 in the team's British & Irish Cup clash.

The Glasgow Warriors duo are both recovering from injuries and did their bit as County gave as good as they got to the English Championship side in Pool Two.

The home side were 12-7 down at the break with their points coming from a try by back-row Robbie Boswell and a conversion by centre Brian Archibald.

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After the interval the Blues added two tries to the pair that they had scored in the first 40 minutes, but a try double by winger Byron McGuigan and two conversions by Archibald kept County in things right until the final stages.

They had some chances late on, but just could not breach the Blues defence again.

Nevertheless, County head coach Graeme Young was delighted with his team. He said: "I cannot fault the guys for their effort, they gave everything. When we went down to Bedford earlier in the season we were blown away by a better team 87-10, but we worked hard in training this week on stopping them getting so much quick ball and our defensive line speed and it paid off this time around.

"We stuck in there and really gave the crowd something to shout about, and over the season I have seen some real improvement in our younger players because they are now playing at a higher level.

"They have also benefited from playing with the pros who we have had available and this weekend it was a pleasure for us to give Ed and Jon game time."

The result means County have won two and lost three matches in the cross-border event ahead of their final pool match away to Neath on Saturday.

Melrose were in Wales yesterday to take on Llandovery in Pool Eight. The men from the Borders went down 34-12 at Church Bank and were up against it for the majority of the afternoon.

They were 34-0 down before tries from scrum-half Bruce Colvine and full-back Fraser Thomson got them on the scoreboard.

There were no more points scored and Melrose headed back up the road having won one match in five in this event ahead of next week's home clash with Doncaster Knights.

On Friday night London Scottish lost 13-12 at Moseley in Pool Six.

Today Dundee HSFP are away at the Cornish Pirates in Pool Three with Scotland cap Rory Lamont still in the ranks and Glasgow Warriors' James Johnstone on the wing.