Selkirk 2nds 12, Jed-Forest 2nds 5
LEAGUE leaders Jed-Forest suffered their first
defeat in the Roadhead Farm Feeds Border Championship on Friday night, when Selkirk made the most of their scoring
chances to record a hard-fought win.
Despite rainy conditions, both teams contrived to spin the ball wherever possible, and a good-sized Philiphaugh crowd was treated to an exciting and typically close-fought Border derby.
Selkirk's veteran threequarter Michael Jaffray teamed up well with teenager Ross Nixon in midfield, with Aussie newcomer Ian McConnell showing good control at fly-half, his powerful line-kicks relieving pressure throughout the contest.
Scott Tomlinson proved a steadying influence in the home pack, while young flanker Andrew Millar got through a power work both in set piece and loose play, and looks a real prospect.
Centre Robert Hogg proved Jed's most dangerous player, regularly breaking the home side's first line of defence, but finding Selkirk full-back Craig Hunter in uncompromising mood in defence.
Tom Elliot had the chance to put the visitors' first points on the board in the 16th minute, but despite Selkirk being marched back another 10 metres for backchat, his kick drifted wide.
Ten minutes later Selkirk took the lead when Jed stand-off Hastie dropped the ball behind his own line, and without waiting for a second invitation, Selkirk wing-forward Greg Hancock touched the ball down for an opportunist try.
Shortly afterwards McConnell was yellow-carded for stamping, before Elliot was again off-target with a penalty attempt. Just before halftime Jed spurned an overlap on the left flank when a try looked on.
After the break Jed increased the pressure, aided by a string of penalties awarded against the home side, but failed to breach a well drilled home defence.
Three minutes from time the result was put beyond doubt. Jaffray intercepted a pass in front of the grandstand, and after a 30-metre dash up the touchline, the former 1st XV captain deftly chipped the ball over the visitors' try line, where Bruce Armstrong won the race for the touchdown. Ben Cooper's conversion put Selkirk 12-0 ahead.
To their credit, Jed's players refused to throw in the towel, and managed to salvage a losing bonus point in injury time when Michael Elder scrambled over the line for a try.
SELKIRK - C. Hunter, S. Jack, M. Jaffray, R. Nixon, B. Cooper, I. McConnell, F. Jack, M. Murray, I. Walling, G. Patterson, S. Renwick, C. Kemp, G. Hancock, A. Millar, S. Tomlinson. Replacements: B. Armstrong, C. Anderson, K. Connor, M. Rodgerson, J. Duncan, R. Price, J. Ross.
Referee - A. Edgar (St Boswells)
TALL ORDER. Selkirk lock Steven Renwick high above his opposite number to win line-out ball in Friday night's game against Jed-Forest. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)