Selkirk 41, Cambuslang 21

Selkirk master mud to defeat spirited Cambuslang side

BOTH teams deserve credit for rising above Sunday's appalling conditions to produce a highly entertaining BT Cup tie, which yielded no fewer than 10 tries.

Although Selkirk always looked to have the measure of Cambuslang, the Prem. 3 visitors refused to throw in the towel, and had the satisfaction of grabbing two tries in the dying seconds of the contest to put a better complexion on the scoreline.

The home supporters' satisfaction at victory was tempered by concern for the injuries picked up by Selkirk props John McDonald and Grant Ruthven. Both men limped from the field with leg knocks, and look doubtful for this weekend's league fixture at Kelso.

Playing into an icy, gusting gale in the first half, and with the pitch's rain-soaked surface quickly turning to glutinous mud, Selkirk's exceptional handling skills soon had the visitors on the back foot.

An incisive counter-attack in the fourth minute by skipper Guy Blair - whose mastery of the conditions not only earned him a hat-trick of tries, but the 'Man of the Match' award - was carried on by David Cassidy, with Simon Murdoch providing the link for Denver Rumney to score a cleverly worked try.

A turnover by Selkirk then allowed Cambuslang to storm back up the field, and from a maul in front of the posts, hooker Gary McVittie peeled blind to touch down without a hand being laid on him. Andy Burke's conversion put the visitors ahead for the first, and only, time in the match.

In the 12th minute a superb piece of inter-passing at pace between centres David Cassidy and Alistair Lyall saw the latter player crash over for a try near the posts. Michael Rutherford converted to edge Selkirk 12-7 in front.

The home side kept up the pressure, with Martin Murray making some powerful breaks and Alister Heatlie and Darren Hoggan both carrying the ball well. Selkirk's next score came when Cassidy retrieved a Cambuslang knock-on, and Blair was up in support to touch down wide out.

The home skipper repeated his scoring act on the half-hour mark to round off a blistering break in tremendous style, only this time it was Michael Jaffray was acted as link man.

Replacement prop John McDonald took the field just before the halftime whistle, but his senior comeback appearance was cut short by a painful knock to the knee which forced his immediate withdrawal to the sidelines.

Selkirk, who had changed into a fresh set of strips at the interval, hit the scoring trail again when Murdoch angled his run perfectly to slice through the visitors' defence from quick scrum ball, crashing over for a try in his 50th game for Selkirk. Rutherford converted to put his team 29-7 ahead.

An injury to prop Grant Ruthven in the 50th minute saw Steven Renwick take the field, and the Yarrow farmer made an immediate impact with a strong drive up the middle. A clever break by Scott Jeffrey set up the position for Blair's third try, which he scored after beating the visitors' defenders to touch down Murdoch's hack over the line.

The Selkirk skipper returned the favour in the 71st minute, when his excellent catch and mazy run created the space for Murdoch to score his second try of the afternoon. Blair's conversion put Selkirk out of sight at 41-7.

Cambuslang continued to win plenty of turnover ball through openside Michael Dick, and the visitors had the final say when Craig Raeside scored from a quickly taken tap penalty, followed by a try in the final seconds of the match from skipper Andy Dick. Burke added both conversions.

The Souters now face Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place in the fifth round, and will be hoping pitch conditions in the capital will prove much more hospitable than Sunday's glaur at Philiphaugh.

SELKIRK - G. Blair, S. Murdoch, D. Cassidy, A. Lyall, M. Jaffray, M. Rutherford, F. Jack, G. Ruthven, D. Hoggan, M. Murray, N. Darling, R. Crockatt, S. Jeffrey, D. Rumney, A. Heatlie. Replacements (all used): G. Craig, S. Renwick, E. Robbie, J. McDonald.

Referee - D. Douglas (Hawick Wanderers).

JACK IN THE BOX. Selkirk scrum-half Fraser Jack cuts inside Cambuslang centre Andy Burke to set up another home attack in Sunday's BT Cup tie at Philiphaugh. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)