Stirling County 50, Selkirk 26

Jones salvages bonus for Selkirk

John Smail reports

Stopped in his tracks, Ally Lyall can't break the defence against a strong Stirling side. (Photos Grant Kinghorn)

A LAST-GASP try by Lee Jones salvaged a bonus point for Selkirk in an otherwise deeply disappointing day for the young Souters, who were outclassed by a sharper and hungrier Stirling County team at sun-soaked Bridgehaugh.
Even the loss of prop Duncan Morrison - stretchered from the field in the third minute with a neck injury - failed to upset the high-tempo performance of the home players, who exploited some indifferent first-time tackling by the visitors, and regularly won turnovers at the breakdown and at the line-out.
Stirling's first try came in the 10th minute when a misdirected Selkirk pass allowed the home threequarters to launch a counter-attack, and slick handling along the line saw centre Danny Gilmour cross for the touchdown. Stuart Edwards converted from wide out.
To their credit Selkirk hit straight back. Breenges by Matt Weller, Callum Johnston and Gavin Craig put Stirling on the back foot, with skipper Fraser Harkness joining the attack to power his way over for a typically bravura try. David Cassidy's successful conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.
The next 25 minutes saw Stirling put the result beyond Selkirk's grasp, thanks to four quick-fire tries from Tim Clarke, Stuart Edwards, Tyler Edwards and Ben Addison. Stuart Edwards added three conversions and a penalty to put the home team out of sight at 36-7.
Selkirk's cause wasn't helped when centre Ross Armstrong had to limp from the field with a knee injury, Alistair Lyall coming on as his replacement.
On the stroke of half-time, Selkirk finally managed to give their travelling supporters something to cheer about. A break upfield by Andrew Renwick led to the ball being switched to Harkness on the right, and the strong-running full-back burst past three defenders to send teenage wing Nyle Godsmark over for a try in the corner.
With the wind at their backs after the interval, Selkirk's players would have hoped to start reducing the deficit. However, it was Stirling who scored the first two tries of the second half through Robbie McGowan and Andy Simpson, both converted by Edwards, to reach the 50-point mark.
Yellow cards were then issued by referee Peter Allan to Stirling lock Tyler Edwards and Selkirk blindside flanker Neil Darling after a bout of fisticuffs involving both sets of forwards in the middle of the field.
Eight minutes from time Selkirk scored their third try of the afternoon when prop Weller took a quick tap penalty close to the home try line and barrelled his way over for a touchdown. Cassidy converted.
In the dying seconds of the match County were awarded a scrum on the halfway line. Although the home pack won the ball, Selkirk scrum-half Michael McVie prevented opposite number Sean Kennedy from clearing, and somehow managed to flip a pass out to Jones.
The Edinburgh wing needed no second invitation to sprint clear from 45 metres, touching the ball down between the posts for the visitors' bonus point try. Cassidy's successful conversion was the signal for the final whistle.
Despite the scoreline, Selkirk can take heart from yet another impressive display from young lock Callum Marshall, who battled bravely throughout, while hooker Ian Walling made his presence felt when taking the field as a replacement in the latter stages of the contest. Congratulations also go to teenage prop Colin Wood, who made his senior debut for the club after coming on to replace Rob Taylor.

Matt Weller scores 1st try for The Souters.

Lee Jones Hauled down.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, L. Jones, D. Cassidy, R. Armstrong, N. Godsmark, G. Craig, M. McVie, R. Taylor, S. Forrest, M. Weller, C. Marshall, N. Darling, C. Johnston, A. Renwick. Replacements - A. Lyall, R. Godsmark, I. Walling, C. Wood, R. Crockatt.