Selkirk 6, G.H.A. 0

Selkirk's players dig deep to clinch fine win over Glasgow frontrunners

IN WITH A SHOUT. Scrum-half Michael McVie encourages his forwards to keep the G.H.A. pack at bay, as Selkirk's try line comes under pressure in the first half of Saturday's Prem. 2 match at Philiphaugh. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)

A GUTSY display by Selkirk earned the Souters a narrow, hard-fought but thoroughly deserved victory over high-flying Glasgow Hutchesons' Aloysians at Philiphaugh on Saturday.

It was the home side's rock-solid defence which laid the foundations for the win, and the Selkirk players' tackle count was undoubtedly the highest it has been in any league match this season. And since the visitors' back division boasted ex-internationalist Alan Bulloch and speedy skipper Rory Watson, it was just as well Selkirk's 'no entry' policy proved so effective.
Making his comeback after a two-week absence, Selkirk full-back Fraser Harkness showed he had lost none of his attacking flair, turning defence into attack on several occasions in the first half with typically barnstorming runs.
Equally effective with ball in hand was blindside flanker Scott Tomlinson, who marked his 250th senior appearance for Selkirk with a fine all-round performance, functioning equally well at number eight when Alister Heatlie was forced to leave the field after 22 minutes with a back injury.
Electing to play with the strong breeze at their backs in the first half, it wasn't long before G.H.A. fly-half James Noonan was peppering the home '22' with a series of garry-owens. Selkirk's back three managed to soak up the pressure, and a Lee Jones break-out in the 16th minute was only stopped by a last ditch tackle from Martin Dunn yards from the visitors' try line.
As the half wore on Selkirk came under increasing pressure, but a combination of tenacious tackling, thumping line- kicks from David Cassidy, and a textbook 'mark' by and clearance by the ever-reliable Scott Hendrie ensured that the scoreboard boys hadn't had to lift a finger during the first 40 minutes.
With the wind behind them after the break, Selkirk's players raised the tempo of their game, despite losing the services of Alistair Lyall, who limped off with a knee injury and was replaced by Bruce Armstrong.

The best scoring chance of the game fell to Fraser Harkness after 51 minutes. The full-back burst through the G.H.A. defence from half-field, and after electing to chip over the head of the full-back, was just beaten to the touchdown by Martin Dunn at the foot of the posts.
The deadlock was finally broken on the hour-mark, when a G.H.A. forward was penalised for not releasing the ball at a ruck, and Cassidy stepped up to send the penalty kick straight between the posts.
This reversal sparked the visitors into life, and a dangerous, surging run by lock Andy Williamson was halted by a brave tackle from Martin Murray just as it looked as though the home defences had been stretched to bursting point.
A series of secure line-out takes by Rory Aglen was complemented by equally solid work round the fringes from wing-forwards Darren Hoggan and Neil Darling, and with Selkirk pressing hard for a try on the right flank, a high tackle on Michael McVie resulted in a second penalty goal attempt for Cassidy, which he coolly despatched to put the home side 6-0 up.
The remaining 10 minutes of the match saw the G.H.A. forwards go for broke in a succession of rucks and mauls up the grandstand touchline, but with the home crowd roaring them on, Selkirk's players rose to the challenge magnificently, and managed to deal with everything the city team could throw at them.
In the dying seconds of injury time, G.H.A. won a penalty, immediately kicking the ball to touch on the Selkirk five-metre line for what would be the last play of the contest. Home captain Darren Hoggan called for one final effort from his battle-weary troops, and they responded magnificently to protect their try line from the resultant eight-man drive, thereby registering a famous victory.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, S. Hendrie, D. Cassidy, A. Lyall, L. Jones, G. Craig, M. McVie, A. McDowall, I. Walling, M. Murray, N. Darling, R. Aglen, S. Tomlinson, D. Hoggan, A. Heatlie. Replacements - B. Armstrong, R. Taylor, G. Patterson, S. Renwick.

Referee - I. Clark (Haddington).