No stopping Selkirk as Wanderers
feel Dundee backlash
full-back Fraser Harkness demonstrates the kind of determined running which brought him three tries against Murrayfield
Wanderers in Saturday's league encounter at Philiphaugh. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)
SELKIRK returned to winning ways in spectacular
fashion at Philiphaugh on Saturday, running seven tries past a bewildered Murrayfield Wanderers team.
The victory proved a personal milestone for home full-back Fraser Harkness, whose powerful runs earned him his
first hat-trick of tries for Selkirk. The former Selkirk Youth Club skipper also featured in what home supporters
believe will rank as one of the most exciting tries ever witnessed at Philiphaugh.
With the second half barely two minutes old, Ciaran Beattie marked the ball in his own 22. He quickly fed Harkness,
who made ground before being tackled. From the ensuing ruck Michael Rutherford fed half-back partner Michael McVie,
who in turn released Denver Rumney.
The openside flanker sprinted 35 metres up the right touchline before cleverly chipping over a defender towards
the visitors' 22. Gathering the ball at full tilt, when eventually tackled the former Ireland under-21 player found
McVie at his elbow, and in double-quick time the ball deftly moved through the hands of Martin Murray, Ally Dickson
and Neil Darling, before Michael Rutherford was up in support to touch down under the posts. Simply breath-taking
This wonderful score gave Selkirk a commanding 25-8 lead, and illustrated the home side's determination (and ability)
to play an expansive, exciting game, which had their fans in raptures on the sidelines. Little wonder home coach
Brian Cassidy was in upbeat mood after the final whistle.
"It was very satisfying to come away with such a convincing result, particularly after last week's disappointment
at Dundee. What pleased me most about our performance today, however, was that every single one of the 19 players
in the squad made a significant contribution.
"Steve and I asked the boys for total commitment at training this week, and that's exactly what we got from
the players out on the pitch this afternoon. Some of the tries we scored were first class into the bargain, and
as a coach you can't ask for much more than that."
The return of skipper Darren Hoggan (playing at No. 8) and centre Ally Dickson undoubtedly gave the Selkirk team
a big lift, and the coaches must also have been pleased with the showing of tighthead prop Gordon Patterson, in
the starting line-up for only the third time this season and growing in confidence with every game. Once again
Scott Tomlinson was drafted into the back row, and the ex-1st XV captain did everything that was asked of him.
Selkirk took the lead within the first minute of play. Darling cleanly collected Sherwood's kick-off, and the ball
was moved along the back division to Harkness. The full-back's kick-ahead cannoned off a Wanderers defender, and
the talented No. 15 gratefully grabbed the ricochet to dive over for a try in the corner.
Two penalties against Selkirk in quick succession allowed Sherwood to cut the deficit from a well struck kick,
and when Rutherford's 10th minute penalty attempt frustratingly bounced back off the crossbar, it allowed Murrayfield
to regroup and take the game to their opponents.
Harkness' second try and a Rutherford penalty stretched the home side's lead to 13-3, but just before halftime
a quickly taken tap penalty by Wanderers' scrum-half Nick Webster saw the Kiwi half-back steal over for a try in
A monster clearance kick from David Cassidy then took Selkirk deep into the visitors' territory, and from the resulting
line-out Martin Murray battered his way past a clutch of defenders to score one of his trademark tries, giving
his team an 18-8 interval lead.
Rutherford's try early in the second period was the catalyst for a series of blistering Selkirk attacks, although
Wanderers defended doggedly, and were indebted to locks Blackhall and MacNish for some clever line-out poaching
Teenage wing Scott Hendrie put the result beyond doubt by beating a defender to the touchdown following a clever
chip over the line after 50 minutes, and further tries from Alistair Lyall and Fraser Harkness (a 60-metre solo
effort to complete his hat-trick) helped the Souters to a second successive convincing home victory.
Rutherford's tally of a try, four conversions and a penalty takes his season's points total to 88 from 11 games,
and Selkirk's jubilant supporters will be hoping the team can take this kind of form to Riverside Park for Saturday's
derby clash with Jed-Forest.
SELKIRK - F. Harkness, C. Beattie, D. Cassidy, A. Dickson, S. Hendrie, M. Rutherford, M. McVie, B. Rawcliffe, E.
Robbie, G. Patterson, N. Darling, S. Renwick, S. Tomlinson, D. Rumney, D. Hoggan. Replacements (all used): M. Murray,
R. Taylor, K. Connor, A. Lyall.
M'FD WANDS - A. Piercy, C. Dove, J. Manson, J. Lee, S. Ker, M. Sherwood, N. Webster, A. Chalmers, A. Howie, K.
Blyth, R. MacNish, D. Blackhall, R. Shilliday, N. Hitchen, S. Botha. Replacements (all used): C. McKenzie, N. Tunnah,
D. Lynn, B. Earl.
Referee - A. Hoyle (Aberdeen GSFP).
GRAND FINALE. 'Harky'
completes his hat-trick of tries by touching down near the posts in the dying minutes of his team's convincing
win over Murrayfield Wanderers at Philiphaugh on Saturday.