Selkirk 5, Boroughmuir 43


LEFT – Selkirk skipper Ross Nixon looks for an opening in Saturday’s league match against Boroughmuir at Philiphaugh. RIGHT – Angus Duckett gets ready to take Scott Hendrie’s offload, with back row colleague Matt Kissick awaiting developments.

LEFT – Wing Darren Clapperton prepares to hand off his opposite number on the stand touchline. RIGHT – Number eight Matt Kissick comes up against Boroughmuir’s massed defence. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

LEFT – Official Selkirk mascots Jake Mulholland (left) and Charlie Aitken accompany skipper Ross Nixon out on to the pitch at the start of Saturday’s game. RIGHT – President John Rutherford presents the Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award to Ewan MacDougall. [Photos: JOHN SMAIL]

SELKIRK’S three-match winning streak in the RBS National League was brought to a juddering halt by Boroughmuir at Philiphaugh on Saturday. The visitors’ physicality and high-tempo play had Selkirk at full stretch throughout the contest, and on this form the Meggetland men look odds-on favourites to bounce straight back to the Premiership.

To their credit the home players never stopped competing, and Scott Hendrie’s try five minutes from time was warmly received by the large Selkirk support, who might not have enjoyed seeing their team concede six tries, but who did have the consolation of being able to bask in some glorious autumn sunshine.

No-one worked harder to stem the tide of royal blue jerseys than Selkirk’s back row of Ewan MacDougall, Angus Duckett and Matt Kissick, whose combined tackle count must have borne comparison with the high total displayed on the scoreboard in the latter stages of the contest.

What didn’t help the home side’s cause was a higher-than-average error count, plus a worrying paucity of set-piece ball, with Boroughmuir winning no fewer than five of Selkirk’s first nine line-outs.

The city side took the lead in the second minute from a David Reekie penalty, following this up with a try under the posts from prop Jonny Latta after a missed tackle had opened a corridor to the home try line. Reekie converted to put ‘Muir 10-0 ahead.

Stung into action, Selkirk then made ground deep into Boroughmuir territory after Duckett’s line-out steal and break had been carried on by Gavin Craig. Kissick’s clean pick-up at the next scrum released Josh Welsh up the blindside, but a knock-on at the ensuing ruck undid all this good lead-up work.

On the 25-minute mark Selkirk’s front row were penalised for a scrum offence, and Reekie’s touch-kick to the home five-metre line put the city men in prime scoring position. A pre-planned peel around the front of the line-out saw lock Greig Scott burst through two tackles for the visitors’ second try.

There was to be no let-up in the intensity of the Boroughmuir players’ approach, although Fraser Harkness showed good anticipation to pressurise opposite number Sam Johnson into spilling the ball to set up a counter-attack. However, the visitors’ defence showed itself capable of dealing with anything Selkirk threw at them.

Just before the break Josh Welsh received a yellow card (harshly in most people’s eyes) for what was judged a deliberate knock-on. Although followed to the bin moments later by visiting hooker Cal Davies, Boroughmuir still had enough men to create an overlap for centre Alex Cox to score wide on the left, giving ‘Muir a 20-0 interval lead.

For the second half Ian Walling and Cata Graur were replaced by James Bett and Graham Turner respectively, while Ryan Crockatt had to retire to the sidelines after aggravating an arm injury - his replacement being Alan Lambie.

Boroughmuir put the result beyond doubt within a minute of the restart. Robert Cairns found himself in space on the right, chipped the ball over the Selkirk line, then beat Hendrie to the touchdown. Reekie’s conversion put the visitors 29-0 ahead with a bonus point in the bag.

Further tries came from Johnson and Cox in the 45th and 66th minutes, with Selkirk supporters’ gloom deepening when Fraser Harkness sustained a painful knee injury and had to be helped from the pitch, his place being taken by Scott Tough.

Scott Hendrie salvaged some pride for the Souters at the death after working a scissors move with Josh Welsh to touch down near the right-hand corner flag.

Switched to lock for the day, Ewan MacDougall was later named the Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’.

SELKIRK –J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, L. Kibble, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton, G. Craig, F. Harkness, G. Patterson, I. Walling, C. Graur, E. MacDougall, S. Renwick, R. Crockatt, A. Duckett, M. Kissick. Replacements: S. Tough, J. Bett, A. Lambie, G. Turner.

BOROUGHMUIR – c. Marshall, R. Cairns, A. Cox, M. Clapperton, J. Edmunds, D. Reekie, S. Johnson, R. Wilson, C. Davies, J. Latta, G. Scott, W. Kay, J. Hare, N. Rodger, A. Rose. Replacements: D. Miller, A. Wallace, T. Docherty, M. Johnstone, S. Wilson.

Referee – Gary Gordon (Hillfoots).