Selkirk 'A' 20, Peebles 2nds 0

Selkirk 'A' weather storm to continue climb up Border Championship league table




ATROCIOUS playing conditions couldn't prevent Selkirk 'A' from notching its third consecutive league victory at storm-swept Philiphaugh on Saturday - a result which sees the Souters leapfrog opponents Peebles to claim fourth spot in the Border Farm Supplies Border Championship.

Guy Blair - scored Selkirk's
first try in 58th minute.

Both sets of players deserve credit for serving up such a keenly contested game of rugby in the driving rain and fiercely gusting winds, while a special mention must also go to visiting referee Malcolm Currie, who kept the game flowing by making sensible allowances for the testing conditions.

Playing with the strong wind at their backs in the first half, Peebles' players were given a stirring lead by skipper Thomson, but found the home team a tough nut to crack. Selkirk prop Alan McDowall epitomised the home side's steely resolve, making a number of crunching tackles and always posing a threat when carrying ball.

Visiting lock P. Stewart had two chances to put the visitors' first points on the board from penalties awarded in the 20th and 23rd minutes, but both attempts ended wide of the mark. This seemed to act as a spur to the home side, and Andrew Renwick's clean line-out take led to a well controlled rolling maul 25 metres up the left flank.

When the ball was eventually moved away from the contact area, Alistair Lyall's neat inside break took him to within touching distance of the visitors' try line, but play was eventually brought back for an earlier Peebles infringement, allowing Michael Rutherford to send his penalty kick between the posts to put Selkirk 3-0 up.

Straight from the restart Selkirk forced their way back into Peebles territory thanks to fine driving play from Scott McDonald, Callum Marshall and David Gray, and soon afterwards a clever chip and chase by Guy Blair up the right touchline saw Peebles forced to concede a line-out five metres from their own try line. The visitors eventually cleared the danger, and the sides turned round at the interval with Selkirk 3-0 ahead.

A fiery opening spell at the start of the second half by the Peebles pack saw the home side forced on to the defensive. A raking 40-metre line kick by home skipper Fraser Jack eventually relieved the pressure, while an equally astute positional kick from full-back Ross Nixon saw Selkirk turn the tables and press hard for a score.

This duly arrived in the 58th minute, when crisp handling along the Selkirk threequarter line saw Nixon create space wide on the right for Guy Blair, who needed no second invitation to sprint round the Peebles cover and score in the corner. Rutherford's tricky touchline conversion was judged to perfection, and two minutes later the home stand-off sent over his second successful penalty to stretch Selkirk's lead to 13-0.

An eye injury forced the retiral of home flanker Scott McDonald, who was replaced by David Purves, with Neil Brown also taking the field in place of Jim Ross. Selkirk's second try followed in the 62nd minute. Callum Marshall raced after Nixon's deflected kick-ahead, then bravely charged down Beaumont's attempted clearance before dropping on the ball for an opportunist score. Rutherford's excellent conversion put the result beyond doubt at 20-0.

After the game Selkirk coaches Ewen Robbie and John Rutherford expressed themselves well satisfied by the home players' efforts in such demanding circumstances, and Saturday's win sets up an intriguing contest this weekend against Kelso 2nds at Poynder Park.

SELKIRK - R. Nixon, G. Blair, A. Lyall, J. Hendrie, J. Ross, M. Rutherford, F. Jack, A. McDowall, R. Price, S. Renwick, A. Renwick, C. Marshall, S. McDonald, M. Robertson, D. Gray. Replacements: D. Scott, D. Purves, S. Rodgerson, C. Davies, N. Brown, R. Cook.

PEEBLES - A. Beaumont, P. Kerr, A. Rodger, P. Whelan, G. Franks, K. Nisbet, S. Borthwick, R. Wilson, M. Carryer, C. Malcolm, M. Thomson, P. Stewart, J. Graham, D. Brown, S. Irvine. Replacements: N. Maciver, R. Ferguson

Referee - M. Currie (Edinburgh).