Selkirk 20, Glasgow Hawks 52

No hiding place as Glasgow Hawks prove too hot a handful for Selkirk players


FIGHTBACK BEGINS. Wing Scott Hendrie finally gives Selkirk's supporters something to shout about as he crosses for the home team's opening try.


UNDER PRESSURE. Selkirk stand-off Gavin Craig manages to get his pass away despite the attentions of a clutch of Hawks players. Rory Aglen and Ross Nixon are the other home players in shot. (Photos: Grant Kinghorn)



GLASGOW Hawks' team bus might have been caught up in Saturday's six-mile tailback on the M8, delaying kick-off time by quarter of an hour, but when the match did finally start it was the visitors who hit top gear in a contest which turned out to be mainly one-way traffic.

Although the size of Hawks' winning margin left home supporters grim-faced at the final whistle, it is worth pointing out that the Anniesland team were in a similar position at the start of the 2008/2009 season, having been defeated in their first three league matches. And although Selkirk conceded eight tries on Saturday, last season they conceded nine and 10 tries in games against Currie and Boroughmuir, yet still managed to finish fifth at the end of the season. So now is not the time to press the panic button.

Indeed Selkirk's coaches will need no reminding of the amount of effort it is going to take to turn around the Philiphaugh side's disappointing start to its second Premier One campaign. Confidence and self-belief were key elements in the Souters' success last season, but on Saturday it was the Hawks' players who seemed to have a monopoly on both.

The visitors played with an intensity and at a pace Selkirk simply couldn't match. Nowhere was this more in evidence than at the scrum, where the home eight were put through the mill in no uncertain terms. As a consequence Selkirk's back division invariably received the ball on the back foot, with the city team's relentless pressure inevitably leading to mistakes and turnovers.

On a gloriously sunny day, it took just five minutes for the first cloud to appear on Selkirk's horizon. A ruck infringement saw Hawks' stand-off Duncan Weir kick for position on Selkirk's 5-metre line, with the giant visiting pack setting up a rolling maul which eventually led to a try for prop Gary Strain.

Selkirk's line remained under pressure over the next few minutes, but Rory Aglen's clean line-out takes and David Gray's solid tackling kept the visitors at bay. Selkirk's respite was short-lived, however, with Gavin Craig's chip out of defence being cleanly gathered by Jericevich and swiftly spun wide to Craig Gossman, who touched down in the left corner. Weir's conversion put Hawks 12-0 ahead after 12 minutes.

More scrum pressure laid the foundations for Hawks' third try two minutes later, this time loosehead prop Joe Stafford being credited with the touchdown. Selkirk tried hard to stem the tide of Hawks attacks, but handling errors and lack of support for the ball carrier kept the home team trapped in their own half.

Two touchline breaks by Lee Jones helped raise the siege, but a further brace of tries by number eight Grant Strang, both converted by Weir, put Hawks out of sight at 33-0. Just before the interval David Cassidy kicked a penalty to finally get Selkirk on the scoreboard.

To their credit, Selkirk's players managed to raise their game after the break, with introduction of Martin Murray helping to stabilise the creaking home scrum. A breenge by Murray allowed Fraser Harkness to breach the visitors' defence, and with Selkirk's pack finally putting together some consecutive phases, Ryan Crockatt's cleverly angled run saw the flanker burst clear to send Scott Hendrie over for the home side's first try. Cassidy converted.

Any chance of a Selkirk revival was stamped out by two quick-fire tries from scrum-half Peter Jericevich, and although Selkirk hit back with tries from Martin Murray and Lee Jones, Weir had the final say by touching down Hawks' eight try to round off an impressive victory by the Anniesland team.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, S. Hendrie, D. Cassidy, R. Nixon, L. Jones, G. Craig, M. McVie, G. Patterson, S. Forrest, R. Taylor, R. Aglen, A. Renwick, C. Marshall, D. Gray, S. Tomlinson. Replacements (all used): D. Grieve, M. Murray, R. Crockatt, M. Rutherford, A. Lyall.

Referee - Cammy Rudkin (GHA).