Selkirk 12, Hawick 24

Selkirk stage comeback, but Hawick win the day

READY TO ROLL. Selkirk scrum-half Fraser Jack prepares to release David Cassidy in Friday night's friendly against Hawick at Philiphaugh. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn).

FRIDAY night's friendly between Selkirk and Hawick was overshadowed by the injury to home prop Rob Taylor, who had to be stretchered from the field after badly twisting his left leg at a collapsed scrum.
The 23-year-old New Zealander was taken by ambulance to the BGH, where an X-ray revealed that no bones had been broken. Ligament or cartilage damage is now the most likely prognosis, but the full extent of the injury will not be known until a further examination is made early next week, once the swelling has subsided.
Although Taylor's injury represents a cruel setback to the home club's fortunes following a string of greatly improved displays in recent weeks, both sides could take encouragement from a highly competitive and entertaining contest.
Hawick took their scoring chances well, and were quick to punish Selkirk's mistakes. All too often a promising home move would end with the ball being turned over, either by the player in possession being isolated without support, or when the final pass was knocked on or didn't go to hand.
Playing with the strong wind at their backs in the first half, it took the visitors just two minutes to put points on the scoreboard. Selkirk were caught short of numbers on the left touchline, and Greens skipper Kevin Reid's inside break allowed Dean McCracken a clear run to the line. Barry Sutherland added the conversion.
Selkirk showed plenty of spirit by launching a series of drives into enemy territory, with one telling break by Michael Rutherford, Martin Murray and Simon Murdoch being stopped within sight of the Hawick line. However, the visitors weathered the storm, and a booming Sutherland kick took play back to the home '22'.
Soon afterwards the Hawick eight set up a powerful rolling maul, with Lee Stewart eventually being driven over for his team's second try, again converted by Sutherland.
The Greens extended their lead to 17-0 through a Sutherland penalty, after Ryan Crockatt had been penalised for a ruck infringement.
Once again Selkirk worked their way back up inside the visitors' '22', and despite a spirited series of drives by Scott Jeffrey, Murray and Murdoch, the Greens' defence held firm to leave them 17-0 ahead at halftime. With the wind now at their backs, Selkirk got off to the worst possible start in the second half. The ball was spun along the home threequarter line, but with Hawick's backs pressing hard in defence, Guy Blair's improvised pass was grabbed by visiting wing Keith Hedley, who ran in untouched from 60 metres for a fine interception try.
Back came Selkirk, with Murray and David Cassidy being stopped just short by some solid Hawick tackling. The home side finally got on the scoreboard when a quick tap penalty by Scott Jeffrey saw the pack leader barge his way over for a touchdown. Rutherford converted.
What would have been a scoring pass from Rutherford to Cassidy in the 68th minute was judged by referee Changleng to have been forward, but Selkirk's second try eventually materialised from a clever piece of line-out poaching by Taylor, with Crockatt in support to get the touchdown.
After so much end-to-end play the match ended on a disappointing note when Taylor had to be stretchered from the field, but credit must go to both sets of players for contributing to an absorbing 80 minutes of rugby.

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

HAWICK - C. Murray, J. Houston, R. Armstrong, D. McCracken, K. Hedley, B. Sutherland, K. Reid, B. McNeil, L. Stewart, W. Blacklock, G. Petrie, J. Coetzee, B. Keown, D. Landles, J. Parker. Replacements (all used): N. Douglas, C. Neish, G. Goodfellow, M. Landles, M. Robertson, K. Geddes.
Referee - D. Changleng (Gala).