Hawick 2nds 18, Selkirk 'A' 16

Selkirk 'A' push league leaders all the way at Mansfield Park

HAWICK consolidated their position at the top of the Roadhead Farm Feeds Border Championship with a narrow, hard-fought victory over Selkirk 'A' at Mansfield Park on Friday night.

With the match entering its final stages, it looked as though the Souters might hold out for an upset victory. However, a try by the experienced Matt Landles six minutes from time put paid to the visitors' hopes and kept the Greens nine points ahead of nearest rivals Jed-Forest.

A penalty by home fly-half Neil Renwick after nine minutes put Hawick ahead, but two similar efforts from the boot of opposite number Guy Blair edged Selkirk ahead on the half-hour mark.

Despite being significantly outweighed by the Hawick pack, Selkirk's forwards battled hard in the loose to keep the Green Machine in check, with Keith Connor and John Everitt always to the fore.

Just before the interval Hawick regained the lead when a line-out drive saw Hawick prop Greg McLeod break free and charge over the line from six metres for a try, putting the home side 8-6 ahead at the interval.

Unfazed by this setback, Selkirk's pack upped its work rate in the second half, and when John Everitt was high-tackled in full flight just yards from the Hawick try line, referee Kevin Robertson had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try.

Blair added the conversion, and soon afterwards kicked his third penalty of the night to stretch the visitors' lead to 16-8.

Another penalty from Renwick cut the deficit to five points, before the stand-off converted Landels' try to nudge Hawick 18-16 ahead.

In the dying seconds a scorching break by Selkirk wing Bruce Armstrong almost produced a winning try for the Souters, but Ross Nixon was just unable to hold on to a difficult pass and the chance was lost.

SELKIRK - J. Lyall, J. Ross, R. Nixon, J. Hendrie, B. Armstrong, G. Blair, F. Jack, J. Stephens, R. Crockatt, B. Rawcliffe, S. Renwick, K. Connor, A. Millar, N. Brown, J. Everitt. Replacements - S. Jack, S. Rodgerson, M. Rodgerson, B. Reid, J. Duncan P. Smail.

Referee - K. Robertson (Kelso).