Selkirk 12, Hawick 37
NO SECOND HALF COMEBACK THIS TIME, AS SELKIRK FORCED TO PLAY SECOND FIDDLE TO GREEN MACHINE
SHOWING the greater aggression and physicality, Hawick gained revenge for their earlier home defeat at the hands of Selkirk by securing a bonus point victory in Saturday's RBS National League fixture between the two clubs at Philiphaugh.
The win keeps Hawick very much in the Premier League promotion race, but effectively ends any hope the Philiphaugh team might have entertained of grabbing a promotion play-off spot at the end of the season.
Selkirk's players didn't help their cause by conceding a glut of penalties at the breakdown. The more decisions went against them, the more the home team's discipline began to fray - reaching a tipping point when referee Dan Shaw red-carded Neil Darling midway through the second half, after the flanker had shown dissent at a yellow card for what an assistant referees deemed to be over-vigorous rucking.
Despite exerting all the early pressure, Selkirk failed to come away from the visitors' 22 with any tangible reward after losing possession at their own line-out. A well judged line kick by Rory Banks then gained a big chunk of territory for the home side, but Steven Anderson's quick line-out throw helped the Greens clear their lines.
After missing a penalty kick attempt in the ninth minute, Hawick full-back Neil Renwick made amends shortly afterwards, from almost exactly the same spot, to put the visitors ahead.
Selkirk had the chance to level the scores in the 16th minute, after Darren Clapperton's quickly taken tap penalty had launched a drive upfield by the home forwards. A Hawick tackler was penalised for not rolling away, but Michael McVie's penalty kick slid past the left-hand post.
With Hawick's pack starting to gain the upper hand in the loose, only great defensive work by Fraser Harkness prevented Hawick scoring. A rolling maul set up by the visiting forwards was homing in on the home try line when Harkness somehow managed to strip the ball free and feed McVie, whose high touch-kick steadied the home ship.
It looked as though Neil Renwick might notch Hawick's opening try after a blistering 50-metre dash up the left touchline, but Scott Hendrie proved equal to the task and made the saving tackle. Shortly afterwards Hawick prop Matt Landels was yellow-carded for an offence at a ruck, and the home side took advantage of his absence to put their first points on the board.
A burst up the middle by second row forward Andrew Renwick was carried on by Harkness, and when the ball was recycled to Gavin Craig the home fly-half deftly chipped towards the right-hand corner flag, with Rory Banks winning the race to touch the ball down for the game's first try. McVie's touchline conversion ricocheted off a post to drop over the crossbar, putting Selkirk 7-3 in front.
Two penalties by Renwick in the 32nd and 37th minutes restored the visitors' lead, and Selkirk suffered a further blow when Andrew Renwick was yellow-carded on the stroke of half-time, after accidentally kicking the legs from under Greig Cottrell in an attempt to fly-hack the loose ball towards the visitors' try line. Half-time score - Selkirk 7, Hawick 9.
With both teams battling to stamp their authority on the game at the start of the second half, it was Hawick who were starting to look the more dangerous outfit - their threequarters clocking up significant yardage with every fresh attack.
This ability of Hawick's backs to counter-attack from deep resulted in a superbly executed try in the 46th minute. A deep diagonal kick by Selkirk left the home side's right-hand flank badly exposed, and from just outside their own 22 the Hawick backs raced upfield to stretch a short-handed home defence to breaking point - Greig Cottrell touching down under the posts after a terrific display of support play.
Two penalty misses by Neil Renwick allowed Selkirk to stay in the hunt, but when Neil Darling received his marching orders in the 61st minute the writing was on the wall. Soon afterwards Keith Davies intercepted Scott Hendrie's pass infield to Fraser Harkness, racing 40 metres down the left-hand touchline to score the visitors' second try.
Selkirk managed to hit back with a Darren Clapperton try in the 65th minute. Gavin Craig's inside break saw the ball switched wide right, where the home side's tireless Kiwi lock Matt Kissick provided the link to send Clapperton in at the corner and cut the deficit to 23-12.
Hawick were in no mood to take their foot off the accelerator, however, and further tries from Gary Johnstone and Scott McLeod set the seal on a convincing victory by the Mansfield Park men. Neil Renwick's successful conversions gave the visiting full-back a personal haul of 17 points.
After the match replacement threequarter Lewis MacLennan had to visit the BGH after sustaining a head knock which affected his vision, but was later released and is thankfully now well on the mend.
This Saturday Selkirk entertain Kelso at Philiphaugh in an RBS Border Regional Cup tie (3pm kick-off).
SELKIRK: R. Banks, S. Hendrie, F. Harkness, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton , G. Craig, M. McVie, G. Patterson, S. Forrest, C. Lacour, A. Renwick, M. Kissick, N. Darling, A. Duckett, R. Crockatt. Reps: L. MacLennan, J. Bett, C. Johnston, C. Graur, E. MacDougall.
HAWICK: N. Renwick, J. Coutts, G. Johnstone, L. Armstrong, S. Anderson, R. Hutton, G. Cottrell, S. Muir, L. Gibson, M. Landels, C. Smith, K. Willison, N. Mactaggart, S. Graham, K. Davies. Reps: H. Scammell, L. Launders, D. Lowrie, G. Anderson, S .McLeod.
Referee - Dan Shaw (Edinburgh).