Selkirk 18, Jed-Forest 18

Selkirk miss out on victory after another bout of yellow feverů

UNDER PRESSURE. Selkirk flanker Neil Darling breaks out of defence in Saturday's match against Jed-Forest at Philiphaugh, supported by team-mates Rory Aglen,

Martin Murray and Michal Adamczewski. (Picture: Grant Kinghorn)

THERE was a gloomy sense of déja-vu about Selkirk's Premier 2 match against Jed-Forest at Philiphaugh on Saturday. Ahead 12-0 after nine minutes thanks to a couple of cracking tries, it looked as though the home side was finally going to get its league campaign back on track with a solid win.
However, much to the dismay of the expectant home crowd - and for the second game in succession - Selkirk's poor discipline record raised its ugly head yet again, leading to a stream of penalties and the yellow-carding of no fewer than three players (the same number of sin-binnings suffered by the team at Cartha the previous weekend).
The upshot of all this was that the Royal Blues were able to regroup, re-focus and emphatically regain the initiative after the interval, with Selkirk's short-handed side being forced on to the defensive for long periods, as Jed's players capitalised on the disorder in their opponents' ranks.
Indeed it looked all over for the Souters in the very last minute of the game, when Jed scrum-half Ross Goodfellow picked up at a maul five metres from the home line, and scrambled over in the corner for a try to put the visitors in front for the first time in the match.
There was just enough injury time to allow the game to be restarted, and when a Jed player infringed at a ruck moments later, David Cassidy held his nerve to send a superb 40-metre penalty kick straight between the posts to earn his team a dramatic draw.
Saturday's contest took place in glorious sunshine, and the home side looked in equally sizzling form during the opening exchanges. With Fraser Harkness back from injury, it wasn't long before Selkirk had made deep inroads into enemy territory after Jed had lost possession on their own line-out throw.
A knock-on in midfield shortly afterwards increased the Riverside team's difficulties, as the loose ball was scooped up by home fly-half Gavin Craig, and a couple of shimmies later the No. 10 found team-mate Alister Heatlie in space. The former Youth Club skipper sprinted over the line for an opportunist try, smartly converted by Cassidy.
Two minutes later Selkirk stretched their lead in similar fashion. Centre Alistair Lyall made headway up the middle of the field, and after half-a-dozen phases the ball was switched wide to Heatlie on the right, and again the home No. 8 needed no prompting to race clear for his second try in as many minutes.
Stunned by this early salvo, Jed-Forest soon found themselves under pressure again, but a clever clearance kick by Goodfellow gained the visitors some breathing space. After 15 minutes Donald Grieve put Jed's first points on the board with a well struck penalty.
Soon afterwards Cassidy returned the favour to restore Selkirk's 12-point advantage, but Jed then managed to penetrate the home defence with a scything diagonal run from Simon Lightbody, and only a combination of desperate defence and lack of support allowed the Selkirk try line to stay intact.
A penalty against Michal Adamczewski for line-out interference was followed by another award against Selkirk for not releasing, allowing the visitors to kick to the right-hand corner. From the ensuing line-out drive the Jed pack was able to power their way over the Selkirk line, Scott Laidlaw being credited with the touchdown to peg Selkirk's lead back to 15-8.
Boosted by this score, Jed's players began to turn the screw, with openside flanker Paul Pringle initiating a series of drives and break-outs, and it was left to Lyall and Denver Rumney to keep the visitors at bay, as the Royal Blues' self-belief began to return.
Just before the interval Selkirk saw its first yellow card when wing Scott Hendrie was sin-binned for not retreating 10 metres at a tap penalty, as well as tackling the ball-carrier. This was followed by a scorching break by Goodfellow down the stand touchline, but Selkirk managed to clear the danger and changed ends at halftime still 15-8 ahead.
Early in the second period it looked as though Martin Murray had scored for Selkirk following good leading-up work by Craig and Lyall, but referee David Jack ruled the ball had not been grounded. At the subsequent scrum Selkirk conceded a penalty, forfeiting a good attacking position.
No sooner had Hendrie returned to the field than Rumney was yellow-carded following a melee in the club shop corner of the field. Minutes later home supporters were relieved to see a penalty attempt by Grieve slide wide of the posts.
With Gary Hill taking the field for Jed for his first game since injuring a shoulder at Kelso Sevens, the game swung from end to end as both teams battled for the decisive breakthrough.
Ten minutes from time Selkirk suffered another setback when prop Rob Taylor was shown a yellow card for a ruck infringement, and Jed-Forest closed the gap to 15-11 when Grieve landed his second penalty of the afternoon.
A clever handling move between Craig and Rory Aglen took play up to Jed's 22, but the final pass to Harkness was judged forward and once again the momentum shifted back to the visitors.
A missed tackle on the grandstand touchline allowed the Royal Blues to counter-attack upfield and camp on Selkirk's try line, from where Goodfellow was able to score a try in the corner, beautifully converted from the touchline by Grieve.
Just as Jed's supporters were beginning to celebrate a come-from-behind victory, and their Selkirk counterparts were staring at yet another defeat, Cassidy's finely struck penalty in the final play of the match ensured the spoils would, after all, be shared.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, S. Hendrie, D. Cassidy, A. Lyall, L. Jones, G. Craig, M. McVie, R. Taylor, D. Hoggan, M. Murray, M. Adamczewski, R. Aglen, N. Darling, D. Rumney, A. Heatlie. Replacements - I. Walling, G. Patterson, K. Connor, R. Nixon.

Referee - D. Jack (Madras).