Selkirk 7, Biggar 41

SHORT-HANDED SELKIRK UNABLE TO HALT THE PROGRESS OF BIGGAR BANDWAGON

LEFT – Selkirk replacement Ruairi Wilson has his progress halted by a Biggar defender. RIGHT – Skipper Andrew Renwick secures line-out ball for the home team.

LEFT – Selkirk full-back Darren Clapperton looks for a gap in the Biggar defence. RIGHT – Prop Cata Graur tries to shake off the attentions of Biggar’s left wing Ian Renwick. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

A PUB quiz in 2041 might pose the question: “Against which team did Selkirk start a fixture, proceed to a 30-0 lead, then get beaten by 34 points?” The answer – Biggar! That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, in circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
The Philiphaugh pitch was almost unplayable following constant rain the previous day, but Saturday’s replay of the October 13 RBS National League match (abandoned after49 minutes when the referee sustained an ankle injury) got underway at 12.30pm on Saturday in bitterly cold conditions.
Although missing six regulars, Selkirk competed well in the early exchanges but handling errors resulted in possession being turned over. Biggar took the lead after 10 minutes when prop Rory Sutherland was up in support to score an unconverted try in the corner. The visitors were spreading the ball wide, but also adopted an effective kicking game to keep the Souters pinned back in their own territory.
Home debutant Harry Aynsley made his mark with a crunching tackle on his opposite number, while in the close exchanges Matt Kissick – back from New Zealand the previous day - sustained a nasty head wound which required eight stitches.
Midway through the half Amo Wilbore crossed for a try to extend Biggar’s lead, although his conversion attempt drifted wide. With their tails up, the visitors continued to keep up the pressure on a young Selkirk side, and it took desperate defence to repel the visitors’ attacks.
Biggar’s lead was extended to 13-0 when a Selkirk player strayed offside in front of the posts, and Wilbore slotted the penalty. Biggar’s kicking game was gaining valuable ground and most of the play was taking place in Selkirk’s half. Biggar’s third try resulted from Amo Wilbore’s turn of pace and he converted his own try to stretch his side’s advantage to 20 points.
Selkirk’s ball retention was poor, but they showed purpose and resilience in the last five minutes of the first half. Spurning several penalties in kickable range, they were rewarded with a try from Clement Lacour on the stroke of half-time. Michael McVie brought out full points with his conversion.
Matt Kissick returned to the fray at the start of the second half but Biggar struck an early blow when full-back Wilbore scored his third try and added the conversion. The visitors were in rampant fettle and playing with confidence.
A scrum under the posts led to Biggar’s fifth try and it was the industrious Bruce McNeil who crossed the line with a powerful surge. Wilbore’s conversion took Biggar out of sight at 34-7. Selkirk then enjoyed a spell of territory and pressure, but Biggar defended well.
The final minutes of the match were blighted when Selkirk’s Matt Robertson suffered a dislocated shoulder. The Souters were by now fighting a lost cause, and man of the match Amo Wilbore scored his fourth try of the contest on the stroke of full-time. His conversion brought the score to 41-7 and an incredible personal tally of 31 points.
All credit to the short-handed Selkirk team, who came up against determined opponents desperate to gain vital points at the lower end of the table.
SELKIRK: D. Clapperton H. Aynsley, L. MacLennan, R. Nixon, M. Davies, R. Banks, M. McVie, C. Graur, J. Bett , C. Lacour, A. Renwick, K. Mitchell, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, M. Kissick. Reps: C. MacDougall, S. Robertson, M. Waldron, R. Wilson.
Referee – Gordon Dickson (SRU).