Selkirk 13, Glasgow Hawks 27


Selkirk number eight Ryan Crockatt bursts past Glasgow Hawks centre Tom Preece in Saturday's RBS National League match at Philiphaugh.

Scott Hendrie on the break against Glasgow Hawks on Saturday, with Selkirk team-mate Ross Nixon ready to lend support. (Photos: Grant Kinghorn)

SOMETHING had to give at Philiphaugh on Saturday, where Selkirk entertained the RBS National League's only other unbeaten team, Glasgow Hawks. In the event it was the visitors who proved the stronger outfit, registering a bonus point win to consolidate their position at the top of the table.
On a perfect day for rugby - wall-to-wall sunshine and the lightest of breezes - it took Hawks just three minutes to penetrate the home defences. When Selkirk failed to secure Andy White's kick-off, the visiting pack swarmed into their opponents' 22. After a series of surges towards Selkirk's try line, scrum-half Haddon McPherson burst over for the game's opening score. Mike Adamson's conversion put the city team 7-0 ahead.
On the five-minute mark Selkirk openside Angus Duckett forced a turnover which allowed Scott Hendrie to break upfield, but the impetus was lost when a home forward went to ground at the ensuing ruck and the danger was cleared. Soon afterwards a solid tackle by flanker Ewan MacDougall stopped a promising Hawks attack up the left-hand touchline.
A strike against the head by visiting hooker Jack McFarlane allowed Hawks to move into Selkirk territory, and when Selkirk were penalised for not retreating, full-back Mike Adamson stepped up to land the penalty and extend the visitors' lead to 10-0.
Selkirk managed to cut the deficit from a Michael McVie penalty after Hawks were penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown. The Philiphaugh men then had a lucky escape when Hawks wing Tony Herron cut through a clutch of home defenders and looked certain to score, but was stopped just short of the line thanks to a fine tackle from Michael Rutherford.
A 25-metre rolling maul by Selkirk's forwards finally put Hawks' pack on the back foot, and when Rutherford's kick upfield was hacked on by Hendrie, the visitors found themselves under pressure in their own 22. The siege was lifted when Selkirk were penalised by referee Samson for crossing.
On the half-hour mark home centre Scott Hendrie retired to the sidelines with a hamstring strain, his place being taken by Rory Banks making his first senior appearance of the season. Shortly afterwards Gordon Patterson took over from Clement Lacour at loosehead prop.
An interception by Banks came to nothing when Selkirk failed to win their own line-out inside Hawks' 22, with the home team suffering another setback when their hard-working lock Matt Kissick had to leave the field injured, his place being taken by teenager Alan Lambie.
Selkirk's best scoring chance came right on the stroke of halftime, when a dazzling break up the left by Rory Banks saw him burst clean through the visitors' defence and head for the corner. However, his offload to Darren Clapperton didn't go to hand after a Hawks defender managed to stifle the pass. Halftime score: Selkirk 3, Glasgow Hawks 10.
The home coaches' interval team talk appeared to have had an immediate effect, with Selkirk's forwards securing a foothold just outside Hawks' 22. A penalty in front of the posts allowed McVie to reduce the deficit to 10-6.
With the intensity of the forward exchanges being ramped up by both sides, it took a try-saving tackle by Callum Johnston close to the left touchline to keep Hawks at bay. Kissick returned to the field on the hour-mark for Selkirk, but was powerless to prevent the visitors from extending their lead when a scrum pick-up and break saw replacement hooker Callum Kerr burst over for a try.
Hawks continued to pound away at the Selkirk line, and five minutes later wing Tony Herron popped up on the opposite side of the field to finish off a concerted drive by the city men and put Hawks 22-6 ahead.
Prior to this the visitors had lost the services of their influential skipper, Ross Miller, with an eye injury, and in the space of final 10 minutes referee Samson issued no fewer than three yellow cards a s tempers began to fray - Clement Lacour for Selkirk, and Hawks' Stephen Findlay and Andy Kirkland.
With the game having gone to uncontested scrums, Rory Banks finally gave the Philiphaugh faithful something to cheer about after latching on to Gavin Craig's neat kick-ahead to score under the posts.
Deep into injury time Selkirk's players were still battling to pull a losing bonus point out of the fire, but it was Hawks who had the final say when Tom Preece gathered a loose ball outside the home 22 to sprint over for the visitors' fourth try.
This well-drilled Glasgow Hawks team are going to be extremely difficult to beat in the weeks ahead, and deserve to sit at the top of the league. Selkirk's players showed plenty of spirit throughout the contest, and will know exactly what to expect when they travel to take on second-place Watsonians at Myreside this weekend.
SELKIRK: M. Rutherford, L. McLennan, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton , G. Craig, M. McVie, C. Lacour, S. Forrest, C. Graur, A. Renwick, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, R. Crockatt. Reps: R. Banks, P. Forrest, G. Patterson, C. Johnston, A. Lambie.
Referee - Charles Samson (Howe of Fife).