GHA 30, Selkirk 17
GHA take the spoils as Selkirk pay heavy price for indiscipline
WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE. Selkirk prop Alan McDowall (right) awaits developments as the GHA pack set up a rolling maul at Braidholm on Saturday. (Picture: selkirkrfc.com web site)
SELKIRK might have shaded GHA 3-2 on the try count
at Braidholm on Saturday, but this will have been of scant consolation to the Souters' supporters, as they watched
their team slip to its second successive 30-point reversal.
Conceding six penalties within easy range of their goal-posts (all gratefully converted by home fly-half James Noonan), not to mention having two of their players yellow-carded, ultimately proved Selkirk's downfall, leaving coaches Brian Cassidy and Steve Scott to rue their players' profligacy.
Bolstered by the return of Alistair Dickson, skipper Darren Hoggan, Martin Murray, Guy Blair and Alister Heatlie, Selkirk held their own in the opening exchanges, but a series of promising attacks were undermined by unforced errors.
Noonan kicked a penalty in the fifth minute after Neil Darling had been penalised for not rolling away at a ruck. It transpired the flanker had sustained a painful knee injury in the incident, and had to be helped from the field - his place being taken by Scott Tomlinson.
Selkirk had a chance to level the scores in the 12th minute but Guy Blair's penalty attempt went wide. Immediately afterwards the visitors' lost 80 metres to GHA's quick counter up the right touchline following a turnover, and Selkirk's gloom deepened when centre Iain Kennedy crashed over for a try, converted by Noonan.
On the 20-minute mark Rob Taylor was penalised for straying off-side at a ruck, and Noonan's successful kick stretched the home side's lead to 13-0.
Selkirk hit back straight from the kick-off, when a superb break by Gavin Craig up the middle was carried on by Fraser Harkness down the right, with Denver Rumney being stopped just short of the GHA try-line. From the resulting scrum the ball was moved wide to Lee Jones, who dived over for a try in the corner.
Two more penalties by Noonan took the halftime score to 19-5 in GHA's favour, but not before Selkirk had strung together some exhilarating attacks featuring Rumney, Taylor, Harkness and Blair. Centre Alistair Lyall retired to the sidelines at the interval with a neck injury, his place going to Craig Hunter, and within five minutes Selkirk had cut the deficit to just seven points with the best try of the afternoon.
Heatlie's scrum pick-up was transferred to Gavin Craig, and the fly-half burst through a gap to sprint 35 metres upfield. He found Fraser Harkness at his elbow, and the full-back changed the angle of attack before slipping the ball to scrum-half Michael McVie, who touched down under the posts. Blair's conversion made the score 19-12, and suddenly the visitors were back at the races.
Unfortunately the momentum generated by this try was lost when a touch-judge pulled up Rumney for an altercation between himself and Andy Rennick after the whistle had blown, resulting in Selkirk being penalised 70 metres to the mark where the offence had taken place.
Two more penalties by Noonan stretched GHA's lead further, before Craig had to be led from the field after sustaining a head knock. Selkirk quickly suffered a further blow when Harkness was yellow-carded for a late challenge, and from the resulting line-out GHA prop Jon Welsh was driven over the line for a touchdown.
Selkirk scored a consolation try through Lee Jones after Dickson and Taylor had combined to set up the chance, but Selkirk's Braidholm nightmare continued when Heatlie received a yellow card from referee Andrew McMenemy in the dying seconds for a rash challenge on full-back Rushforth.
This Saturday Selkirk face unbeaten Edinburgh Accies in a 'must win' match at Philiphaugh .
SELKIRK - F. Harkness, L. Jones,
A. Lyall, A. Dickson, G. Blair, G. Craig, M. McVie, M. Murray, I. Walling, A. McDowall, R. Taylor, S. Renwick,
N. Darling, D. Rumney, A. heatlie. Replacements - C. Kemp, S. Tomlinson, D. Hoggan, C. Hunter.
NO WAY PAST. Selkirk's blindside
flanker Neil Darling prepares to get to grips with GHA scrum-half Ali Miller in Saturday's Premier 2 match at Braidholm.
(Picture: selkirkrfc.com web site)