Selkirk 33, West of Scotland 24

WITH the pressure to preserve their Premier One status now lifted from both sides' shoulders, Selkirk and West of Scotland left their inhibitions in the dressing room to serve up a free-flowing, action-packed contest in Saturday's Premier B match at Philiphaugh.
Playing into the sun and against the breeze, the home side took just six minutes to put their first points on the board. A well-timed run by skipper Fraser Harkness saw the Scotland sevens player burst through the visitors' defence, with good support from Rory Banks, Callum Marshall and Ryan Crockatt (who had an excellent game) allowing Rory Aglen to charge over for a try close to the posts. David Cassidy's conversion sailed over.
It looked as though Selkirk would stretch their lead when Harkness again made ground up the middle, but Ross Nixon's attempted kick to the corner came off the side of his boot and the chance was lost.
With 15 minutes gone West drew level. A penalty for handling in the ruck allowed the Burnbrae men to set up camp deep in Selkirk's 22, and following a series of drives to the home line, scrum-half Mark Davis scrambled over for the score. Conor Davis added the conversion.
Back came the home team, and a scrum pick-up by Callum Marshall almost saw the rangy number eight send Rory Banks over in the corner, but his pass was adjudged forward. Moments later a shuddering tackle by Matt Weller stopped a West attack dead in its tracks, and soon afterwards West prop Steven Longwell was yellow-carded for over-vigorous rucking.
His absence was to prove costly for the visitors. Following the next scrum (which was uncontested), Ross Nixon made a half-break down the left flank. The move was continued by fly-half Gavin Craig, who created enough space to release Darren Clapperton on a diagonal run and the young wing touched down for Selkirk's second try.
Soon afterwards Craig again broke through the visitors' defence, and the ball passed through the hands of Marshall and Clapperton before Harkness joined the line at full tilt to burst over and score.
A superb last-ditch tackle by Callum Johnston on Mark Davis right in front of the grandstand won a valuable line-out for Selkirk, and a quick throw saw Craig again make the initial breakthrough before releasing Ross Nixon for Selkirk's bonus point try. Cassidy's fourth successful conversion put the home team 28-7 ahead.
To their credit West's players never let their heads drop, and in the last play of the half number eight Calum Morrison scrambled over for his side's second try, making the halftime score 28-12 in Selkirk's favour.
A third try early for in the second period by West centre Matthew Horner gave the Burnbrae men fresh hope, and with Simon Willet sent to the sin-bin for a ruck offence in the 58th minute, it looked as though the pendulum might swing back in the visitors' favour. However, a try by David Cassidy soon afterwards put the result beyond doubt, although West had the final say with a consolation score from wing Calum Mackenzie.


SELKIRK - F. Harkness, R. Banks, D. Cassidy, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton, G. Craig, M. McVie, R. Taylor, M. Martin, M. Weller, R. Aglen, S. Willet, R. Crockatt, C. Johnston, C. Marshall. Replacements: N. Godsmark, S. Forrest, G. Patterson, E. MacDougall.
Referee - G. Gordon (Hillfoots).