Selkirk 19 Edinburgh Accies 10

Selkirk stand tall to overcome Edinburgh Accies

Selkirk front row members Martin Murray, Darren Hoggan and Rob Taylor pack down at Philiphaugh.

THIS was Selkirk's third consecutive league win, and it is clear the players are growing in confidence as the team's accumulation of BT Premiership points lifts them clear of the relegation zone.
Saturday's display against Edinburgh Accies illustrated just how much Selkirk's all-round game has progressed, for it was the Souters' much improved defensive work which ultimately paved the way for victory.
In the final 12 minutes of the match an all-assault by Accies on the home try line threatened to undo all of Selkirk's previous good work, but such is the organisation and self-assurance of the Philiphaugh side these days, that the thin navy blue line held firm.
No-one did more for the home side's cause than openside Denver Rumney, who has made rapid progress since switching from the backs to the back row. His speed to the breakdown and tenacious tackling kept the visitors at full stretch, while back row colleagues Scott Jeffrey and Alister Heatlie proved equally effective in ensuring Selkirk were on top in the loose.
Such command allowed half-backs Fraser Jack and Michael Rutherford to control play for long periods, with Jack's sniping runs and Rutherford's accurate positional kicks greatly limiting Accies' attacking options.
The home side took an 11th minute lead from a Rutherford penalty. Myles O'Hagan replied in kind for the visitors, before the boot of Rutherford once again nudged Selkirk ahead.
Two minutes before the interval, Selkirk scored the first try of the afternoon. A line-out close to the Accies' line saw prop Rob Taylor power his way over for the touchdown, following a perfectly executed switch-drive move.
The home supporters' joy was short-lived, however. Selkirk failed to secure possession from the restart kick, and moments later found themselves contesting a line-out in front of their own line.
Although the visitors' rolling maul was halted by the home pack, the ball was quickly switched to Matthew Coupar, and the blond wing crashed over for a try. O'Hagan's conversion cut Selkirk's halftime lead to 11-10.
Despite this setback, Selkirk did not lose their poise or will to win. Hooker Darren Hoggan celebrated his return to full fitness with some spirited drives up the middle, while Neil Darling upped his already phenomenal work rate to stiffen the home team's resolve.
The turning point came on the hour mark, when a thrilling 50-metre break by Kiwi flyer Simon Murdoch split the visitors' defence. David Cassidy was up in support, and executed a scissors move with Al Heatlie. Although tackled from behind, the number eight managed to throw out a pass to Fraser Harkness, who sprinted over for an outstanding try - his 11th of the season.
A third Rutherford penalty extended the Souters' lead, but for the rest of the contest it was Accies who held the upper hand, as they pressed hard for at least the consolation of a bonus point. Fortress Philiphaugh remained unbreached, however, allowing the home crowd to breathe a collective sigh of relief and celebrate a famous victory.

Accies Lock Alistair Dale wins lineout ball on Selkirk's own try line.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, S. Murdoch, D. Cassidy, A. Lyall, G. Blair, M. Rutherford, F. Jack, R. Taylor, D. Hoggan, M. Murray, N. Darling, R. Aglen, S. Jeffrey, D. Rumney, A. Heatlie. Replacements (all used): S. Tomlinson, E. Robbie, G. Ruthven, J. Ross.

Referee - J. Steele (Dumfries).