Watsonians 35, Selkirk 14

Errors cost Selkirk dear as slick Watsonians quick to punish visitors' mistakes

VON RYAN'S EXPRESS. Selkirk flanker Ryan Crockatt bursts past Watsonians lock Torrie Callander to set up Sean Crombie for the visitors' first try at Myreside on Saturday.

ON a perfect day for rugby, it was Watsonians who made all the running in Saturday's rearranged Premier One fixture at Myreside. Selkirk never recovered their poise after conceding three tries in the opening 25 minutes, and although clawing back some of the leeway after the break, never looked like overturning the home side's lead.

Ironically it was the visitors who made the more positive start to the match, with Ross Armstrong having the chance to open the scoring from a 35-metre penalty after four minutes, but the centre hooked his kick to the left of the posts.

Soon afterwards Selkirk were still pressing for a score following a strong run by lock Rory Aglen, but turnover ball allowed Watsonians to launch a counter-attack from within their own 22, and some crisp, clean handling saw Ben Di Rollo score the afternoon's first try close to the posts. Mike Ker made no mistake with the conversion.

On the 19-minute mark it was Richard Minto's turn to show a fair turn of pace, after Armstrong's intercepted pass had seen the former Kelso wing sprint from the halfway line for the city side's second touchdown. Ker again obliged with the conversion kick.

It was left to Lee Jones to try and get the Philiphaugh men back into the game, and after a surging break up the right touchline it looked as though the club internationalist's chip to the line would yield a try for the chasing Callum Johnston, but the flanker just failed to hold on to the wickedly bouncing ball.

After 25 minutes Watsonians again punished a Selkirk mistake, this time Scott Tomlinson's positional kick ricocheting off a player into the hands of openside Michael Fedo, who needed no second invitation to hare 50 metres down the pitch for yet another runaway score. Ker's conversion sailed over.

On the stroke of halftime the game was effectively put beyond the visitors' reach when right wing Tupu Saena capitalised on yet another Selkirk turnover to outpace the defence and score wide out on the right. Ker's unerring kick took the halftime score to 28-0 in the city side's favour.

Despite upping their game after the break, with scrum-half Ben Meyer and Lee Jones both making good yardage from individual breaks, it was the home team who resumed their scoring sequence after seven minutes. Gordon Patterson lost ball in the tackle, and immediately James Johnston set off on a sprint to the line which resulted in a fifth converted try for Watsonians.

Selkirk's supporters were finally given something to cheer about when Ryan Crockatt burst through the home defence and linked with Sean Crombie, the hooker shaking off a couple of tackles on his way to touching down the visitors' first try. Ross Armstrong added the conversion.

Now beginning to show signs of their old self, Selkirk went close soon afterwards when Ben Meyer's clever chip and catch took the home defence by surprise. The scrum-half was not to be denied, however, and in the 59th minute took a quick tap penalty and was assisted over the try line by a clutch of team-mates. Armstrong's conversion's reduced the deficit to 35-14.

Although there were no further tries, Gavin Craig came close to scoring after a typically elusive run inside the Watsonians 22, while Jason Hendrie was called back after what had looked a certain score after referee David Changleng adjudged Guy Blair's final pass to have been forward.

SELKIRK - G. Blair, J. Hendrie, R. Nixon, R. Armstrong, L. Jones, G. Craig, B. Meyer, G. Patterson, S. Forrest, M. Murray, R. Aglen, S. Willet, E. Gauché, C. Johnston, S. Tomlinson.. Replacements: R. Crockatt, R. Taylor, S. Crombie, B. Purves.

Referee - D. Changleng (Gala).

CRUNCH TIME. Selkirk flanker Eddie Gauché battles to make ground in Saturday's game at Myreside, with team-mates Ben Meyer (left) and Simon Willet on hand to lend support. (Photos: Grant Kinghorn).