Jedforest 23, Selkirk 17


LEFT – Scrum-half Michael McVie clears his lines in Saturday’s RBS National League match against Jed-Forest at Riverside Park, watched by opposite number Ross Goodfellow. Jed won the game 23-17. RIGHT – Darren Clapperton launches another Selkirk attack.

LEFT – Ewan MacDougall goes airborne to secure line-out ball. RIGHT - Selkirk skipper Gavin Craig splits the Jed defence on his way to scoring his team’s first try. [Photos: Grant Kinghorn]

PLAYING in their change strip of bright yellow, Jed-Forest certainly shaded an off-colour Selkirk side in Saturday’s RBS National League match at Riverside Park. The home players showed the kind of drive and commitment that will be needed in the weeks ahead if they are to win their battle to escape the relegation zone.
This was the fourth time Selkirk have faced the Royal Blues this season, and although managing to win the series 3-1, this will have been of little comfort to the Philiphaugh team and their supporters as the club builds up to their RBS National Cup quarter-final on March 2.
“Jed worked hard for their win,” Selkirk head coach Brian Cassidy said after the match, “and I hope they can now go on and notch victories in their remaining league games. I thought we lost our shape today, and while that can perhaps be put down to the changes we had to make for this match, it was still a disappointing performance overall.”
Not for the first time this season, Selkirk were caught cold. Unable to secure possession from Jed’s kick-off, the visitors compounded the error by conceding a penalty at the very first ruck, allowing home centre Ewan Scott to step up and put his team 3-0 ahead with less than two minutes on the scoreboard clock.
Within another couple of minutes the same player had the chance to increase Jed’s lead when a Selkirk player was penalised for not releasing, but on this occasion his kick was wide.
On the five-minute mark Selkirk scrum-half Michael McVie was penalised by referee Rob Dickson for taking too long to clear the ball from a ruck. Selkirk were immediately penalised for dropping the scrum, and a quickly taken tap penalty saw Jed fly-half Nua Fono-Hunt break down the blind side and dummy his way over for a try. Scott’s conversion attempt drifted wide, leaving the Royal Blues 8-0 in front.
The visitors finally began to find their feet, with Darren Clapperton taking a difficult high ball in textbook style to launch Selkirk’s first attacking move up the grandstand touchline. Andrew Renwick and Fraser Harkness both made breaks soon afterwards, with Matt Robertson securing turnover ball to keep up the pressure.
In the 23rd minute Selkirk gained reward for some enterprising play by Darren Clapperton up the left flank. Quickly recycled ball allowed skipper Gavin Craig to find space just outside the home 22, and the fly-half weaved his way through the home defence to score a superb solo try. McVie’s conversion put the visitors just one point behind at 8-7.
A second penalty miss by Ewan Scott on the half-hour mark allowed Selkirk some breathing space, before Fraser Harkness came close to scoring up the other end after charging down Ian Chisholm’s clearance attempt.
Just before halftime Lewis MacLennan replaced Darren Clapperton on the left wing, and the teenager had barely taken the field when Jed struck a decisive blow – Lewis Young scoring a try in the right-hand corner after Chisholm’s intrusion had breached the visitors’ defence. Scott’s conversion attempt bounced back off the post. Halftime score: Jed-Forest 13, Selkirk 7.
Selkirk lost the services of Eddie Turner soon after the break, the young lock having taken a painful blow to his sternum. His place was taken by Kris Mitchell, while minutes before hooker Stuart Forrest had swapped places with James Bett.
Michael McVie and Ian Chisholm exchanged penalties to keep Jed 16-10 ahead, but with just seven minutes to go Ewan MacDougall managed to secure turnover ball just outside the home 22. A drive from Andrew Renwick resulted in a scrum to Selkirk close to Jed’s posts, and a series of rucks ended with Stuart Forrest bursting over for a try. McVie’s conversion put Selkirk ahead for the first time in the match at 17-16.
Within a minute of the restart Jed-Forest had their supporters on the touchlines roaring in relief, as Fono-Hunt dummied his way under the Selkirk posts for the game’s clinching try. Scott added the conversion to seal a hard-won victory.
JED-FOREST: I. Chisholm, L. Young, R. Hogg, E. Scott, D. Gobby, N. Fono-Hunt, R. Goodfellow, A. Ions, Dav. Grieve, A. Frame, G. Young, G. Elder, M. Weekley, Don. Grieve, S. Raeburn. Reps: N. Bates, J. Sudlow, J. Rowley, R. Miller, C. Gillon.
SELKIRK: F. Harkness, C. McColm, S. Bell, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton, G. Craig, M. McVie, S. Renwick, J. Bett, C. Graur, A. Renwick, E. Turner, C. Marshall, S. Robertson, E. MacDougall. Reps: L. MacLennan, S. Forrest , A. Duckett, M. Waldron, K. Mitchell.

Referee – Rob Dickson (Madras).