Never-say-die Souters unable to halt Green Machine in Border League decider

ATTACK MODE. Selkirk centre David Cassidy launches a counter-attack in Tuesday night's play-off final against Hawick. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)

Hawick 32, Selkirk 7

DESPITE a battling performance, Selkirk had to give second best to Hawick in Tuesday night's "Southern Reporter" Border League play-off final at Mansfield Park, eventually being beaten 32-7 by the Greens. After what has been a very long, hard season, the visitors simply ran out of steam as Hawick upped the tempo after the break.

Nevertheless a blistering opening spell by Selkirk had Hawick hanging on the ropes in the opening 20 minutes. Indeed had two clear-cut scoring chances not gone astray during this period, the scoreline might have been much, much closer. As it was, Selkirk gave their large travelling support plenty to shout about by taking a 7-0 lead after only five minutes.

Lock Rory Aglen stole Hawick's ball at a line-out on the home team's 10-metre line, and then Martin Murray, David Cassidy and Fraser Harkness all made ground in a series of bursts towards the Greens' try line. Eventually the elusive running skills of Gavin Craig proved decisive, with the young fly-half jinking his way over under the posts for a fine try. Cassidy's conversion sailed over.

On the 20-minute mark Hawick lock Gavin Petrie was yellow-carded, and soon afterwards the home side lost the services of stand-off Barry Sutherland with a leg injury. Two blistering runs out of defence by Fraser Harkness kept the Greens pegged back deep in their own half, but turnover ball allowed home centre Rory Hutton to burst clean through the Selkirk defence. The lanky threequarter off-loaded to Andrew Wilson, who in turn found Hugh Scammell at his elbow, with the hooker giving a scoring pass to Graham Hogg.

Before halftime a second Hawick player, Ryan Hogg, received a yellow card, but despite some close shaves Selkirk failed to put any more points on the board and the score remained 7-5 in the visitors' favour at the interval.

Hawick came out for the second half with all guns blazing - Matt Landles and pro. player Bruce McNeil both making their presence felt. An opportunist try in the corner by Greg Goodfellow put the Greens ahead for the first time in the match, and the game's turning point came soon afterwards when props Gordon Patterson and Martin Murray were yellow-carded in quick succession for ruck offences.

The Greens took full advantage, McNeil and Thomson adding tries and Hutton kicking a penalty and conversion to stretch Hawick's lead to 25-7. The point of no return came in the 68th minute, when John Coutts scored Hawick's fifth try of the night, converted by Hutton.

To their credit, Selkirk's players never gave up the struggle, and for the final 15 minutes of the match camped in Hawick's half in a bid to breach the Greens' defence. However, there was to be no further scoring, so ending the Selkirk club's hopes of a famous finale to its centenary season. After the match Selkirk skipper Darren Hoggan made a presentation to coach Steve Scott on behalf of the players, wishing him well in his future coaching career.