Selkirk 'A' 14, Hawick Linden 10

Selkirk 'A' inflict first defeat of season on Hawick Linden

FRIDAY night's game between Selkirk 'A' and Hawick Linden might only have been a friendly, but there was plenty at stake for both sides. The visitors currently lead East League Division One, and going into the game boasted the only unbeaten record in Scotland.

For their part, Selkirk coaches Ewen Robbie and John Rutherford were keen to restore a winning mentality into their players' minds following the team's slip-up in their last Border Farm Supplies Championship fixture at Kelso.

Friday night's game also marked the return to Philiphaugh of centre Alistair Dickson. The former Edinburgh professional last played for Selkirk in the club's Border League match against Melrose in January, 2007, and turned in a typically solid performance in his comeback appearance.

Playing with the strong wind at their backs in the first half, Selkirk made all the early running but found the Linden defence a tough nut to crack. The breakthrough came after 15 minutes, when Andrew Renwick won line-out possession on the visitors' 22, and when the ball was eventually spun out to the threequarters, Jason Hendrie cut inside his marker to score near the posts. Darren Scott converted.

It only took Hawick Linden a matter of minutes to level the scores. Forcing Selkirk to concede a turnover at a ruck just outside the home 22, visiting scrum-half Greg Cottrell spotted a gap and darted over near the posts for a fine opportunist try. Barry Sutherland added the conversion.

Some well placed positional kicks from the boot of Alistair Dickson kept the Hawick team pinned back in their own territory, and when the ball squirted out the side of a Linden scrum five metres from the visitors' try line, Selkirk flanker David Gray pounced to register his side's second try. Again Scott was successful with the conversion.

Soon afterwards referee Ian Fox had to retire to the sidelines with a pulled hamstring, but luckily Selkirk referee Iain Rodgerson - a spectator at the match - quickly volunteered his services, officiating until the end of the contest.

Despite having the elements in their favour in the second half, Hawick Linden couldn't find a way past Selkirk's resolute defence. The only points came from a Barry Sutherland penalty, leaving Selkirk deserved 14-10 winners, and the visitors on the wrong end of a final scoreline for the first time this season.

SELKIRK - J. Ross, N. Brown, A. Dickson, J. Hendrie, A. Godsmark, D. Scott, F. Jack, A. McDowall, R. Price, S. Renwick, A. Renwick, C. Marshall, A. Millar, D. Gray, R. Crockatt. Replacements: D. Purves, S. Rodgerson, C. Davies, R. Cook, B. Reid, B. Purves, I. Walling. C. MacDougall.

Referees - I. Fox (Earlston) & I. Rodgerson (Selkirk).

Alistair Dickson - fine