Selkirk 32, GHA 27

Selkirk fightback proves too much for GHA

SCORE GIVEN. Referee David Dods raises his arm to confirm that Selkirk centre Alistair Dickson has crossed the line for a try in Saturday's game against GHA at Philiphaugh, much to the delight of Selkirk scrum-half Michael McVie. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)

TRAILING at halftime, having failed to make best use of the wind at their backs, Selkirk's players made amends in spectacular style in Saturday's showdown with nearest rivals GHA, running in three second half tries to scupper the visitors' hopes of victory.

In doing so the Souters not only notched their third successive win at Philiphaugh, they picked up their fourth scoring bonus point of the campaign - just reward for yet another dazzling display of running rugby, which has become the hallmark of Darren Hoggan's young side.

However, a home victory had looked anything but assured in the contest's early exchanges, when two defensive lapses in the first 14 minutes allowed GHA's strong-running Aussie centre Ross West to cross for a brace of tries, both converted by Martin Dunn.

In between times Selkirk did manage a try of its own. Fraser Harkness' quickly taken tap penalty saw the ball reach Alistair Dickson, and the former pro. player lobbed a perfectly judged pass to prop Gordon Patterson, who crashed over the line for his first senior try. Michael Rutherford landed the tricky conversion.

Despite having the upper hand territorially, Selkirk simply couldn't find a way through the visitors' defence. The home supporters' frustration increased when Scott Hendrie looked to be heading for a certain score in the corner, only for the teenage wing to be called back after the final pass had been adjudged forward.

A successful penalty kick from Rutherford after 24 minutes cut GHA's lead to 14-10, and this was how things stood at the interval.

Selkirk's luck changed straight from the restart, when an infringement by GHA at a ruck allowed Rutherford to send over a penalty into the teeth of the wind, leaving the home team just a point adrift.

Shortly afterwards centre David Cassidy launched a quick-fire counter-attack from outside his 22, with the move finally coming to a halt when Michael McVie was just squeezed out at the corner flag.

A score wasn't long in coming, however, and at the next scrum Rutherford broke right before flicking an inside pass to Dickson, who took a couple of defenders with him as he burst over for his first try of the season. Rutherford's conversion put Selkirk ahead for the first time in the match.

Spurred by this reversal, GHA skipper Alan Bulloch led an all-out assault on the Selkirk try line, and the home side had Guy Blair to thank for making a last-ditch tackle when a score by the visitors seemed certain.

Blair, Cassidy and Ben Rawcliffe all came close to scoring at the other end of the field, but a succession of penalties allowed the city team to regroup, and when McVie strayed offside at a scrum near the posts, Dunn stroked over the resultant penalty to cut the Souters' lead to 20-17.

The next score was always going to be decisive, and it fell to Selkirk. Scott Hendrie did well to field a wickedly bouncing clearance kick, and after beating his man on the outside he found Fraser Harkness up in support. The full-back burst clear inside GHA's 22, and skipper Darren Hoggan was up to take the off-load and stretch out for a try in the corner. Rutherford's touchline conversion was a gem.

Five minutes later the result was put beyond doubt. Visiting full-back Gareth Maclure got into fankle with team-mate Niall Cassie when trying to deal with Cassidy's speculative kick, the ball being hacked on and gathered by Guy Blair, who found Fraser Harkness at his elbow, and the powerful No. 15 steamed over the line for a try which had the crowd roaring its approval.

To their credit GHA's players continued to take the game to their opponents, and their perseverance was rewarded when wing Rory Watson touched down for a try wide on the right. This was followed by a monster penalty from the boot of Martin Dunn with the final kick the game, earning the Braidholm club a thoroughly deserved losing bonus point.

NEW DOUBLE ACT. Centre Alistair Dickson (left) combined with Gordon Patterson to set up the prop's first try for Selkirk in Saturday's victory over GHA. Later in the match Alistair got on the try scoring sheet himself for his first touchdown of the season.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, G. Blair, D. Cassidy, A. Dickson, S. Hendrie, M. Rutherford, M. McVie, G. Patterson, B. Rawcliffe, M. Murray, N. Darling, M. Barnett, S. Tomlinson, D. Rumney, D. Hoggan. Replacements (all used): R. Taylor, S. Renwick, K. Connor, A. Lyall.

G.H.A. - G. Maclure, R. Watson, A. Bulloch, R. West, N. Cassie, M. Dunn, P. Johnstone, W. Falconer, C. Brown, D. Prankerd, C. Mason, A. Williamson, A. Boag, L. Hazleton, G. Harkness. Replacements (all used): P. Harkins, K. Lang, A. McCormick, D. Ziolo.

Referee - D. Dods (Gala Star).

 
 

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