Selkirk 55, Biggar 13


LEFT – Selkirk replacement Callum McEwan beats the Biggar cover on Saturday to score his first senior try for the club. RIGHT – Debutant Ross Purves finds himself outnumbered, as Ewan MacDougall gets ready to lend a hand.

LEFT – Wing Scott Hendrie manages to get his pass away despite the attentions of a Biggar defender. RIGHT – James Bett just manages to beat Mark Bertram to the touchdown to register Selkirk’s fourth try. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

LEFT – Official Selkirk mascots Conor Cairney (left) and Thomas Elliot get a sneak preview of the home dressing room just before Saturday’s kick-off. [Photo: JOHN SMAIL] RIGHT – Four Seasons Forestry director George Welsh presents his company’s ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award to Ricky Fluhler after the game. [Photo: GRANT KINGHORN]

SELKIRK reclaimed third spot in the RBS National League with a convincing, nine-try victory over Biggar at Philiphaugh on Saturday. The win helped restore some confidence in the Souters’ ranks following last week’s heavy loss to Boroughmuir.

“The boys knew they owed it to themselves and to their supporters to step up a gear and show the kind of rugby they’re capable of playing,” head coach Alistair Dickson said after the match. “I was much happier with our overall performance, and it was pleasing to see youngsters like Callum McEwan and Ross Purves get game time.

“Our play had a lot more shape and structure about it today, although there are still plenty of areas we have to work on. Our finishing let us down on a number of occasions, and that’s something you can’t afford in a tight contest. We’re still missing several players, so I’m confident we can improve further in the coming weeks.”

Playing with the sun at their backs, it was Biggar who struck the first blow, number eight Callum Taylor racing over for a try after Scott Tough’s clearance kick had been charged down. Kayle Connor’s conversion kick sailed over from the touchline.

Selkirk hit back almost immediately. A delicate chip over the Biggar defence by home skipper Ross Nixon was gathered close to the right touchline by Scott Hendrie, and the wing burst past opposite number Andrew Fleming to score in the corner. Josh Welsh’s conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.

Selkirk took the lead straight from the restart. Matt Kissick gathered the kick, fed Ewan MacDougall, who in turn sent Lee Kibble darting up the left flank. The centre delivered a perfectly timed pass to Rory Banks, and the wing sprinted home for a try in the corner.

Although Connor kicked a 16th minute penalty to keep the visitors in touch, Selkirk now began to turn up the heat. A quickfire break by Gavin Craig was carried on by Matt Kissick, only for the number eight’s off-load to Scott Hendrie to be judged forward, as the wing dived over in the corner for what he hoped was his second try.

The scoreboard was soon back in action, however. A heel against the head by James Bett saw Kissick pick up and spin a pass to Gavin Craig, whose cleverly angled run split the Biggar defence to allow him to cross for Selkirk’s third try. Welsh’s conversion put the home side 19-10 ahead.

Welsh extended Selkirk’s lead with a bonus point try in the 24th minute following good lead-up work by Duckett and Kibble, but another Connor penalty kept Biggar in the hunt at 24-13.

Despite having John Everitt yellow-carded just before halftime, home hooker Bett struck a decisive blow for the Philiphaugh team when Craig’s crunching follow-up tackle forced a Biggar defender to spill the ball, allowing Bett to hack it over the line and win the race to the touchdown. Halftime score: Selkirk 29, Biggar 3.

The second half was played out almost entirely in Biggar’s half, as the visitors found themselves at full stretch trying to contain the Selkirk onslaught, with second row forward Ricky Fluhler always to the fore for the home side.

On the 50-minute mark home replacements Callum McEwan, Cata Graur and Callum Johnston came off the bench to replace Rory Banks, Graham Turner and John Everitt, while 20 minutes from time teenage hooker Ross Purves took the field to make his senior Selkirk debut.

Second half tries were scored by Scott Hendrie, Callum McEwan, Josh Welsh and Rory Banks (who had returned to the field to replace the injured Lee Kibble), with Welsh adding three conversions for a personal haul of 20 points. Selkirk’s fifth replacement, Callum McColm, came on for Scott Tough in the 57th minute.

Kiwi lock Ricky Fluhler, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Saturday, was named the Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’.

SELKIRK –J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, L. Kibble, R. Nixon, R. Banks, G. Craig, S. Tough, G. Patterson, J. Bett, G. Turner, R. Fluhler, J. Everitt, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, M. Kissick. Replacements: C. McColm, C. McEwan, R. Purves, C. Johnston, C. Graur.

BIGGAR – C. MacDonald, M. Bertram, J. Sullivan, C. Lavery, A. Fleming, K. Connor, Z. Carylon, C. Arthur, K. Robison, C. Henderson, J. Harvey, G. Owens, J. Orr, E. Sanderson, C. Taylor. Replacements: M. Dunlop, E. McAlpine, D. Reive, S. Harrison.

Referee – Sam Grove-White (Montrose).