Boroughmuir 48, Selkirk 20

Never-say-die Selkirk push Boroughmuir all the way in pulsating cup contest

TRY TIME! Selkirk number eight Scott Tomlinson latches on to Scott Hendrie's off-load to score the first of Selkirk's three tries at Meggetland on Saturday. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)

IT was a raw, wind-swept Meggetland that welcomed Selkirk's players and supporters for Saturday's Scottish Hydro Electric Cup 6th round tie. The impressive new facilities at the ground were matched by an impressive Boroughmuir squad, unbeaten since the turn of the year.

The home side took an early lead when captain Rory Couper scored a try in the third minute, created by fly-half Scott Hadden, son of the Scotland coach, who made a telling break from his own 22, shrugging off several tackles before feeding Couper a scoring pass.

David Cassidy had a chance to narrow the gap with a long range penalty, but the kick drifted wide in the gusty cross-wind. At this stage the Selkirk forwards were competing well against their Premier 1 opponents, and the visitors' first points on the board came when Cassidy made no mistake with a 15th minute penalty.

Boroughmuir No.8 Ben Fisher was always a threat, and it was his midfield burst that created the simplest of tries for back-row colleague Angus Martyn. Hadden added the conversion.

The third try for the home team came from "champagne" rugby, starting off with a break by Charlie Keenan, who fed the ball to Steven Ruddick. Excellent support play by Martyn, Hadden and others eventually saw Greg Cottrell getting the touch down.

On the half hour mark, 'Muir scored again when James Fish burst through the Selkirk defence. Boroughmuir were now playing with confidence and were reacting to situations more swiftly than their opponents.

However, the "never say die" attitude of the Borderers came to the fore when Selkirk edged their way back with a fine try. Stand-off Gavin Craig made a clean break down the middle of the field before feeding Scott Hendrie, who continued the move at good angle and pace. Scott flicked the ball inside just short of the try line, allowing Scott Tomlinson, who once played for Boroughmuir, to crash over for a touchdown under the posts. David Cassidy brought out full points.

Almost on half time, winger Charlie Keenan burst away on a mazy run from his own 22 and sheer pace took him away from defender after defender. It looked all the way like a spectacular individual try until a tremendous last-ditch tackle by Neil Darling forced him into touch at the corner flag. The half time whistle brought relief to the Souters.

Selkirk made a bright start to the second half and fully deserved their second try when Bruce Armstrong scampered in under the posts after the 'Muir defence had been caught napping. David Cassidy's conversion would have narrowed the gap to four points, but the wind blew the ball off the tee and he was unable to land a drop-kick conversion.

The home supporters were happier when Scott Hadden & Keenan scored tries going into the final quarter. Selkirk actually enjoyed a sustained period of territorial advantage and 'Muir had to defend stoutly with their line under threat.

A second Armstrong try, from Cassidy's break, was no more than Selkirk deserved for their efforts, and at 34-20 they pushed hard to narrow the 14-point gap. However, it was Boroughmuir who rose to the occasion and put the result beyond doubt with a couple of converted tries deep into injury time from Clapperton and Martyn.

The city team deservedly move into the quarter-finals and will be a difficult team to beat on current form. That said, Selkirk put up a brave effort and can take a lot of positives from the game. If they can cut down on basic errors in their play, they can look forward to the remaining league fixtures with every confidence.

SELKIRK - M. Rutherford, S. Hendrie, A. Lyall, D. Cassidy, M. Jaffray, G. Craig, L. Jones, G. Paterson, R. Crockatt, M. Murray, R. Taylor, R. Aglen, N. Darling, D. Hoggan, S. Tomlinson. Replacements: B. Armstrong, C. Johnston, K. Connor, R. Nixon.