Selkirk 27 Haddington 22 (Sat. Oct. 6th)

(Report from Haddington RFC website)

Haddington relinquished their 100% league record on Saturday against a stuffy Selkirk side that grew in confidence as the game wore on. Haddington now sit joint top of Premier 2 with West of Scotland and will probably look at the result as a lost opportunity to increase the gap on third placed Selkirk, who in turn, played like a team that couldn't afford to lose.
The match kicked off in perfect conditions and it was Haddington who took the early initiative by taking the game to Selkirk and with only 5 minutes on the clock the Reds had scored their first try of the day when a delightful Callum Mark pass sent his midfield partner Donald Snodgrass into acres of space, the supporting Neil Rogers carried the move on before releasing Brock Gibbons in for yet another try to add to his already impressive collection this season. Jamie Peters made no mistake with the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Two minutes later Peters had increased the lead to 10-0 after a great take at the lineout from Ross Martin sent Sam Johnston through the gap only for Selkirk to kill the ball at the resultant ruck as Haddington looked to score.
Haddington continued to play all the rugby and another try went a begging after a great run by Rhodri Thomas took play deep into the Selkirk 22 only for desperate defending stopping another certain score.
Haddington were rocked soon after though when they tried to be over-elaborate in the midfield and a speculative kick bounced straight into the hands of the Selkirk player who had an easy run-in and with the simple conversion Selkirk were back within 3 points at 10-7, when Haddington really should have had a healthy lead.
Realising that this was just a set back the Reds resumed normal service and were straight back on the offensive driving Selkirk backwards at every opportunity and on 20 minutes some great phases of play by backs and forwards sent flanker Neil Rogers in for a cracking try. Jamie Peters kicked a tremendous conversion for a well-deserved 15-7 lead at the mid-way point of the first half.
One lesson that any team travelling to the Borders will always learn is that Border clubs never lie down and Selkirk were no exception. Slowly but surely they started to capitalise on small errors that crept into Haddington's game and on 32 minutes Selkirk pounced on a poor 22 dropout to surge back towards the Reds line before moving the ball quickly wide for their winger to score. The conversion was missed but the score was now perilously close at 15-12.
Selkirk were not finished yet and after kicking a penalty deep into the Reds 22, Selkirk won their own throw at the lineout and drove over the Haddington line for another touchdown to go into half time leading 17-15.
Haddington never got going at the start of the second half and the game became loose which suited Selkirk at this stage as their tails were up and whenever Haddington had the ball Selkirk were quick to slow it down at the breakdown, starving the dangerous Haddington runners of any quality possession.
Within 10 minutes Selkirk had increased their lead as they hit up the middle of the park from the lineout, Haddington stood off as Selkirk offloaded out of the tackle to score near the posts and with the simple conversion the home side now led 24-15.
Haddington needed to score next or the game was in danger of slipping away from them and it was the forwards that started to control ball again in the rucks that would eventually see Selkirk being penalised for infringing. From a quick tap penalty Callum Cockburn was put into space to score out wide and with Jamie Peters' excellent conversion the Reds were now trailing by only 2 points at 22-24 going into the last quarter.
Both teams by this stage were wary that the next score would probably win the game and it was Selkirk who came up trumps as Haddington tried to run ball out of defence before becoming isolated and not releasing the ball, giving away the penalty which Selkirk kicked to stretch their lead to 27-22.
Haddington did have chances to score as they chased the game in the closing stages but time ran out as referee Changleng blew for full time.
This was a set-back for Haddington in terms of the start they've had to the season and its important Haddington take this defeat on the chin and look to bounce back immediately in the next game. There were certain aspects of the game which Haddington need to improve on at times but the players abilities and commitment are never in question which is why there is still so much to be positive about and look forward to in the forthcoming league matches.