Selkirk 'A' 7, Hawick 2nds 15

Selkirk 'A' pay heavy penalty for indiscipline as Hawick take league points

A BUMPER crowd packed Philiphaugh for Friday night's Border Farm Supplies Border Championship game between Selkirk 'A' and Hawick 2nds, and were treated to a thrilling encounter between two teams committed to attacking rugby.

Despite having a number of chances to win the match, Selkirk couldn't find the killer punch that would have put away the defending champions. What didn't help the home team's cause was a string of needless penalties given away well within the kicking range of Hawick's Ali Weir, who landed five successful kicks from six attempts.

Selkirk took a deserved 7-6 halftime lead thanks to a well worked try from teenage centre Craig MacDougall, who dove-tailed well with fly-half Michael Rutherford throughout the match and should be a great asset to the Philiphaugh club in the years ahead. Rutherford added the conversion, with Hawick keeping in touch thanks to two Weir penalties.

After the break Selkirk continued with their expansive brand of running rugby, with livewire flanker Matt Robertson showing up well in attack and defence. However, the visitors' defence proved equal to the task, and they took the lead when hands at a ruck just outside the home 22 allowed Weir to slot his third penalty of the night.

Frustration then began to creep into Selkirk's play as their efforts to penetrate Hawick's defence continued to fall just short. Two more penalties from the boot of Weir secured victory for the Greens, at the same time denying Selkirk the consolation of a losing bonus point.

Selkirk blindside Andrew Renwick gave a confident, lively display which will have advanced his claims for a recall to the senior squad, while tighthead prop Alan McDowall showed up well in his comeback game following an extended overseas holiday break.

Another plus-mark was the appearance of flanker David Gray for the final 15 minutes of the match - his first competitive action since injuring his ankle in the 1st XV's Border League play-off victory over Jed-Forest at the end of last season.

This was Selkirk's third successive league defeat, and coaches Ewen Robbie and John Rutherford will be more determined than ever to make sure that the rot stops when the young Souters take on Jed-Forest 2nds at Riverside Park on Saturday, October 11.

SELKIRK - J. Ross, N. Brown, R. Nixon, C. MacDougall, J. Hendrie, M. Rutherford, F. Jack, R. Price, S. Forrest, A. McDowall, S. McDonald, C. Marshall, A. Renwick, M. Robertson, R. Crockatt. Replacements: D. Scott, C. Davies, S. Renwick, S. Rodgerson, D. Gray, A. Millar, K. Connor.

Referee - Billy Hunter (Gala).

ON THE PULL. Selkirk prop Alan McDowall gets to grips with a Hawick opponent in Friday night's cracking Border Championship encounter at Philiphaugh. (Picture by Grant Kinghorn)