Dundee 20, Selkirk 17


TOUGH GOING. Selkirk players Josh Welsh and Darren Clapperton try to secure possession in Saturday’s game against Dundee HSFP at Mayfield.


WITH five minutes of injury time already played, it looked as though Selkirk would earn a hard-fought draw with Dundee at Mayfield on Saturday. However, an offside infringement by a visiting back allowed Bryce Hosie to land a 40-metre penalty and secure victory for the Tayside team victory with the final kick of the game.

The win assures Dundee of fourth spot in this season’s RBS National League, one place above Selkirk, but the young Philiphaugh players showed enough character and commitment throughout the 80 minutes to suggest the building blocks are already in place for a promising campaign next season.

Dundee got off to a flying start when a Selkirk knock-on allowed the home threequarter line to launch a counter-attack from its own 10-metre line. Selkirk’s initial error was compounded by a missed tackle in midfield, allowing Dundee centre Tim McKavanagh to race clear down the left touchline and score a try, with just three minutes on the clock.

Selkirk’s front row found itself under huge pressure at the scrum, and the pack would have been in even more trouble had it not been for some excellent tidying-up work in retreat by number eight Matt Kissick, who had an excellent game both in defence and attack.

Scrum-half Mikey Davies sparked Selkirk’s comeback with a quickly taken tap penalty to take play into Dundee territory. Kissick’s pop-up pass to Scott Hendrie saw the talented wing burst clear and weave his way past a clutch of defenders. He put in a neat grubber-kick, which Ross Nixon skillfully gathered before crashing over for a try in the right-hand corner. Rory Banks landed the tricky conversion to put the visitors 7-5 ahead.

Selkirk could have increased their lead from a penalty in front of the posts, but opted to run the ball instead and the chance for extra points was eventually lost. A strong run by Josh Welsh and a clever box kick by Davies soon had Dundee back in their own 22, however, and this time the pressure paid off.

An overthrown line-out ball by Dundee was collected by Cata Graur, who made ground up the middle. The ball was spun out to Craig MacDougall and then Ross Nixon, who drew his man in textbook fashion before giving a scoring pass to Darren Clapperton - the wing diving over the whitewash for his fifth try in five games. Banks’ conversion put Selkirk 14-5 ahead with half an hour played.

Seven minutes later Dundee cut the deficit to two points, when another missed tackle saw Tim McKavanagh break free to run in his second try of the match, converted by Hosie. Buoyed up by this score, Dundee’s big pack initiated a series of drives towards the Selkirk line, with hooker Steven Longwell peeling from the final maul to score his side’s third touchdown. Halftime score: Dundee HSFP 17, Selkirk 14.

Playing into the wind, the visitors began brightly, Josh Welsh and Darren Clapperton both making significant yardage with ball in hand. Dundee then had number eight Richie McIver yellow-carded for deliberate obstruction, and during his absence Rory Banks kicked a penalty to put Selkirk back on level terms.

Some astute positional kicks by-half Hosie began to keep Selkirk pinned back in their own half, but great defensive work by, among others, James Bett, Ewan MacDougall and Ricky Fluhler prevented Dundee from breaking the gain line.

Lewis MacLennan took the place of Welsh in the 54th minute after the full-back picked up a calf injury, and Ruairi Wilson and Bruce Riddell came on for Craig Elliot and James Bett 10 minutes later. Soon afterwards Matt Robertson replaced Callum Marshall in the back row, and all four of Selkirk’s young replacements made positive contributions to the visitors’ cause.

Breaks by MacLennan, Banks and Hendrie, plus a superb line-out take by Kissick, kept play in the home team’s half. However, with the contest deep in injury time, Hosie stepped up to land the all-important penalty kick to deny Selkirk a share of the spoils.

Afterwards in the clubhouse Scotland internationalist David Leslie presented Scott Hendrie with an award for being Selkirk’s ‘man of the match’, while Leslie’s fellow Grand Slam team-mate, Selkirk president John Rutherford, handed over the Dundee ‘man of the match’ award to Tim McKavanagh.

DUNDEE – N. Alston, G. Gray, M. O’Sullivan, T. McKavanagh, M. Brown, B. Hosie, A. Dymock, S. Longwell, D. Russell, A. Brown, M. Harland, C. Cumming, R. Cessford, C. Jollands, R. McIver. Replacements: A. Kent, S. Burnett, J. Mulligan-Linforth, S. Barlow, A. Wood.

SELKIRK - J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, C. MacDougall, D. Clapperton, R. Banks, M. Davies, C. Elliot, J. Bett, C. Graur, A. Renwick, R. Fluhler, E. MacDougall, C. Marshall, M. Kissick. Replacements: L. MacLennan, M. Robertson, R. Wilson, B. Riddell.

Referee Alex Pratt (Watsonians).