Selkirk 34, Hillhead-Jordanhill 12


Selkirk and Hillhead-Jordanhill players line up to observe a minute’s silence prior to Saturday’s game at Philiphaugh, in memory of former Selkirk president Wilbert Neil, who died last Thursday.

Openside Angus Duckett dives over the line for Selkirk’s bonus point try in Saturday’s 34-12 win over Hillhead-Jordanhill.

There’s no stopping Fraser Harkness as he scores the first of his two tries at Philiphaugh on Saturday afternoon.

Selkirk wing Darren Clapperton races clear of the Hillhead-Jordanhill cover defence to score his side’s third try.

Skipper Andrew Renwick pictured with Selkirk mascots Harry McMenamin, Robbie Macdonell and Harris McEwan prior to Saturday’s match. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

MUCH to the relief of their supporters, Selkirk got back to winning ways after a run of three defeats with a hard-fought victory over Hillhead-Jordanhill at Philiphaugh on Saturday. The win lifts them to fifth place in the RBS National League, with two games left to play.

Selkirk’s success was overshadowed by the news that this was to be the last home appearance of the club’s former skipper and talismanic full-back Fraser Harkness, who had earlier made the following announcement on his Facebook home page:

“After 11 years I have decided that today will be my last home game in a Selkirk jersey. I just wanted to thank everyone who's been involved at the club for the time I have been there, and to thank the supporters who make it the club what it is. Cheers.”

It wasn’t long before the former Scotland Club XV & Scotland sevens star was showing everyone exactly why he is such a devastatingly effective player by bursting over the line for two tries in the space of eight minutes early in the match. Throughout the afternoon he continued to show the strong running, rugby know-how and consistent work rate that have helped make him such a popular and influential figure at Philiphaugh.

Hillhead-Jordanhill had the chance to take the lead after three minutes, but Andy Leslie’s penalty kick - awarded for a scrum infringement - drifted wide. Ross Nixon then cleverly held up the visitors’ lock Corey Buchan to win a scrum, allowing Mikey Davies to release Josh Welsh on a break down the stand touchline.

At the next line-out Callum Marshall secured possession at the tail, with the ball being spun along the line to Scott Hendrie, who cut inside his man and drew Sean Mills before releasing Fraser Harkness, who needed no second invitation to sprint over for a try near the left-hand corner. Banks couldn’t land the conversion, but moments later knocked over a penalty to put Selkirk 8-0 up.

The home side extended their lead soon afterwards. Wing Darren Clapperton - one of Selkirk’s best performers on the day - marked the ball 15 metres inside his own half, took a quick tap and raced upfield. He beat a clutch of defenders before selflessly off-loading to Fraser Harkness, who raced clear to touch down his own (and Selkirk’s) second try of the match.

The visitors came close to opening their account when skipper Stuart Ross was stopped just short of the home try line, but on the half-hour mark Hillhead fell further behind. A quickly taken tap penalty by Mikey Davies saw Harkness make ground up the middle, and the full-back returned the compliment to team-mate Darren Clapperton by drawing the final defender and off-loading the ball for Clapperton to score without a hand being laid on him.

A minute before halftime Selkirk secured their fourth try to effectively put the game beyond the Glasgow visitors. Another Harkness counter-attack saw the full-back leave Hills wing Daniel Osugo clutching thin air, and Welsh was up in support to make ground deep into enemy territory.

The move came to a halt when Angus Lean was adjudged to have tackled Scott Hendrie without the ball, and the Hills flanker received a yellow card for his troubles. Banks sent the penalty into touch five metres from the visitors’ line, and although Ricky Fluhler secured possession, Hillhead managed to force the ensuing maul into touch.

An overthrow by Hills hooker Jamie Leslie saw the ball go loose at the tail of the line-out, where home openside Angus Duckett was able to scoop it up and crash over for Selkirk’s fourth try. Banks’ successful conversion put the home team in the driving seat with an interval lead of 29-0.

Far from conceding defeat, the Glasgow visitors stepped up their efforts at the start of the second half and deservedly pulled two scores back thanks to tries by Sean Mills and Blair Macpherson in the 43rd and 59th minutes. Andy Leslie added one of the conversions to cut Selkirk’s lead to 29-12.

With Selkirk’s scrum having to give second best to the visiting eight, the home side was reduced to 14 men at the start of the final quarter when Scott Hendrie was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement. This led to a change of personnel, Scott’s brother Jason taking the field in place of Josh Welsh.

Earlier in the half teenage prop Callum Turnbull had come on to replace Gordon Patterson, this being the youngster’s first appearance for Selkirk’s 1st XV. At the same juncture Matt Kissick replaced Kiwi compatriot Angus Duckett.

Selkirk had the last word when Rory Banks sliced through the Hills defence for his team’s fifth try following a breenge by prop Cata Graur, making the final score 34-12 in the home side’s favour.

Blindside wing-forward Ewan MacDougall was named the Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ following the final whistle.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton, R. Banks, M. Davies, G. Patterson, J. Bett, C. Graur, A. Renwick, R. Fluhler, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, C. Marshall. Replacements: J. Hendrie, R. Purves, M. Kissick, C. Turnbull.

H/JORDANHILL – S. Mills, D. Osugo, R. Holland, A. Holland, C. Butler, D. Paterson, A. Leslie, M. Robertson, J. Leslie, W. Goulden, C. Buchan, E. Grai, A. Lean, S. Ross, B. Macpherson. Replacements: A. Macmillan, D. Crichton, J. Agnew, C. McLennaghan.

Referee – Daniel Shaw (Scottish Rugby).