Selkirk 17 Biggar 26
|The league season was launched at a blustery Philiphaugh
on Saturday when Biggar rose to the challenge and defeated a plucky Selkirk side by 26 points to 17. The Hartreemill
outfit could not have wished for a better start when, after five minutes, a speculative chip through by Kiwi scrumhalf,
Sam Muir, saw the ball take a wicked bounce straight into the hands of winger, Craig Parker, who darted over unopposed
in the corner for an unconverted try. Playing with the elements in their favour, Selkirk applied loads of pressure
in Biggar territory, but spurned opportunities to turn pressure into points with several missed penalties. Last
gasp defensive work by Biggar denied the Souters from scoring until Fraser Harkness burst through a couple of tackles
to score a bludgeoning try between the posts for Gavin Craig to convert with seventeen minutes on the clock. However,
the narrow lead proved to be short lived when the Souters contributed to their fate with some slack defending from
the re-start. Some powerful forward play from Biggar put the home team's rearguard action to the test. Livewire
scrumhalf, Sam Muir, seemed to have the easiest of tasks to breach the defences from a pop up pass, following a
forward drive by Van Staten, to touch down for a try under the posts. Craig Parker had no difficulty in adding
the points and Selkirk were struggling to take advantage of the gusty wind in their favour. Further penalty misses
exacerbated the situation for Selkirk although Gordon Patterson narrowed the gap to 12-10 with half time approaching.
The home supporters realised that the wind advantage probably needed a 10 point lead at the interval rather than
a 2 points deficit.
Biggar had conceded a plethora of penalties but Selkirk had failed to capitalise on the situation. Two Parker penalties after 45 and 55 minutes stretched the visitor's lead and Selkirk were battling hard to get back into the game. The Biggar victory was sealed after they managed to disrupt the Selkirk scrummage. Eady Manawaiti picked and drove to tie in the first line of defence and Wright at flank forward squeezed in at the corner for a try. To rub salt into the wound, another Parker penalty stretched the lead to an unassailable 26-10. To give Selkirk credit they fought manfully in the final quarter and South African newcomer, Eddie Gauche showed power and pace to charge over between the posts for an excellent try. Gavin Craig brought out full points. Biggar were forced to defend during the final few minutes and suffered a second yellow card for indiscretions which stemmed several Selkirk attacks. However, over the 80 minutes, Biggar deserved their away win and Selkirk must rue the missed chances. Several positives emerged for the home team who were up against opposition containing a handful of Southern Hemisphere players. The forwards scrummaged well throughout the match and encouraging fitness levels were evident during the last 20 minutes. Eddie Gauche had a promising league debut and Fraser Harkness looked sharp whenever on the ball. The league season will be long and testing but the Souters will be keen to bounce back after this early setback.