It was back to the reality of league rugby at Philiphaugh
on Saturday and visitors Whitecraigs, who are based in Newton Mearns on the south side of Glasgow, proved to be
tough opposition. Last weekend they defeated Hamilton in the RBS Cup and in recent years Glasgow pros, Jon Welsh
and Ed Kalman came through their impressive youth system.
Selkirk started brightly and an early break down the middle by No8 Callum Marshall soon tested out the Whitecraigs
defence. A counter attack by the visitors No8 Ben Blamire stung the Selkirk defence into action. His blind-side
charge gained 40 metres and created a confidence booster for their bulky pack. The Souters looked dangerous with
ball in hand and centre David Cassidy's incisive break led to a penalty opportunity which he coolly turned into
three points with 10 minutes played. Selkirk created several try scoring opportunities but the Whitecraigs defence
was up to the task. Fraser Harkness, Pete Mirrielees Darren Clapperton and Niall Godsmark were all close to scoring
but were thwarted by some first class tackling. The visitors had a chance to draw level after 25 minutes but full-back,
Stephen Gillies struck the upright with his penalty attempt from 30 metres out.
Despite their territorial advantage in the opening half hour, Selkirk were not turning pressure into points although,
to their credit, the resolute Whitecraigs defence was proving to be a hard nut to crack. However, with 35 minutes
on the clock, the home team made the breakthrough. From a scrum out wide, 5 metres from the try line, Callum Marshall
picked up and weaved over for a fine try. For once the Whitecraigs defence had made an error and they were punished
when Cassidy brought out full points with the conversion. The Selkirk centre kicked his 2nd successful penalty
just before half-time to give the Souters a deserved 13-0 lead at the interval.
On resumption of play Whitecraigs enjoyed a period of pressure But the Selkirk forwards and backs were swift to
retaliate with exciting runs by Mirrielees, Gavin Craig, Harkness, Ross Nixon and Clapperton. A high tackle offence
gave Cassidy another long range penalty chance which he thumped over, straight and true, from nearly the half-way
line. As the match entered the final quarter, 2nd row forward, Andrew Renwick showed excellent skills with a neat
pick-up interception after Craig's kick ahead put the visitors' defenders in a muddle. Renwick brushed aside a
couple of opponents and strode over for his side's 2nd try and the score line of 21-0 in Selkirk's favour was probably
a fair reflection of play. To their credit, Whitecraigs put in a storming final 10 minutes and Selkirk had to defend
like Trojans. The Glasgow side were determined to get a consolation score and pummeled the Selkirk line time after
time. It must have pleased the Selkirk coaches, Ali Dickson and Ewen Robbie that the defence held firm and left
Whitecraigs with a blank points total. This was a hard earned victory for Selkirk which leaves them leading the
RBS Premier C league by 5 points from Kelso. There is little doubt that Whitecraigs will prove to be problematic
for any team visiting West Lodge.