Kelso 6, Selkirk 40


LEFT – Selkirk openside Angus Duckett offloads the ball during Saturday’s 40-6 victory over Kelso at Poynder Park. Team-mates Ewan MacDougall and James Bett are in support. RIGHT – Despite the pile of bodies, Gavin Craig crosses the line for Selkirk’s first try.

LEFT – Double try-scorer Scott Hendrie spots a gap in the Kelso defence. RIGHT – Fraser Harkness gets his pass away in textbook fashion.

LEFT - Selkirk debutant Bruce Riddell (third from left) prepares to pack down alongside hooker James Bett. RIGHT – Ewan MacDougall’s face lights up as he spots the Kelso try line. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

A ROUSING second half display saw Selkirk register an impressive victory over Kelso in Saturday’s RBS Border Regional Cup fixture at Poynder Park.

The omens hadn’t been good for the visitors, however, with Lee Kibble tearing a knee ligament in an accidental collision in the warm-up with skipper Andrew Renwick. A quick reshuffle saw Scott Hendrie switch to centre, with Rory Banks coming off the bench to play on the right wing – leaving Selkirk with just three replacements for the entire 80 minutes.

Despite a nervy start during which Selkirk’s front row gave away a penalty at each of the first three scrums, the Philiphaugh players grew in confidence as the match progressed. After the final whistle, head coach Ally Dickson was in understandably positive mood.

“Having missed out on a game last weekend it was important the boys got a match under their belts today,” he said. “More importantly we needed a good performance, and that’s exactly what happened, so I’m obviously pleased about that. I thought in the second half we controlled play and ran the ball well, with every member of the squad playing his part.”

Kelso’s side contained several teenagers, but the youngsters certainly stepped up to the mark in the early stages of the contest as Selkirk were forced back into their own 22 thanks to some well-judged kicks by stand-off Matt Douglas. And it was the former Hawick YM player who put the Tweedsiders’ first points on the board from a penalty.

After 12 minutes Selkirk hit back. A great run up the left touchline by Ricky Fluhler – who had an outstanding game – put pressure on the home defence, and after a couple of quick rucks Gavin Craig scooped up the ball to burrow his way over in the corner for a try.

Some good clearance work by Matt Kissick helped stem an immediate riposte by the Black & Whites, for whom number eight Michael Robertson was a constant threat, before a line-out steal by Fluhler allowed Angus Duckett and Rory Banks to counter-attack up the stand side.

In the 34th minute Kelso skipper Chris Riddell received a yellow card for deliberate obstruction after Mikey Davies had taken a quick tap, following the award of a penalty for a high tackle on Gavin Craig. Josh Welsh stepped up to kick the goal and put the visitors 8-3 ahead, but shortly afterwards Matt Douglas sent over a second penalty for Kelso to cut the deficit.

Matt Kissick took a great catch to make ground up the middle, and the ball was quickly spun out to Ross Nixon, who slipped his marker to take play close to Kelso’s 22. Mikey Davies found Fraser Harkness on his right, and the full-back off-loaded to Angus Duckett - the livewire Kiwi battering his way over for Selkirk’s second try. Halftime score: Kelso 6, Selkirk 13.

After the interval, teenage prop Bruce Riddell took the field to make his senior debut for the Souters, replacing Cata Graur on the tighthead. Good scrum ball saw Fraser Harkness (in irrepressible form throughout) burst down the blind side, before moments later charging under the posts – only to be called back after the final pass had been deemed forward.

A good run by Scott Hendrie down the right channel kept the home defence at full stretch, and when Kelso were penalised for offside, Welsh was able to land his second penalty to make the score 16-6 in the visitors’ favour.

At this point Matt Robertson came on for Angus Duckett, who had taken a leg knock, and the young flanker soon made his mark by coming through the back of a ruck inside Selkirk’s 22 to fly-hack the ball upfield and clear the danger as the Tweedsiders battled to get back into the game.

The pick of Selkirk’s tries came in the 58th minute. Mike Davies marked the ball at the edge of his own 22, and took a quick tap before racing upfield. Fraser Harkness was in support to carry on the break, and the ball moved through the hands of Hendrie, Welsh and Craig before Scott Hendrie took the fly-half’s pass to race over for a try. Welsh’s conversion put the visitors 21-6 ahead.

With the Souters growing in confidence, slick handling resulted in further tries by Harkness, Ewan MacDougall (his first senior try for the club) and Hendrie, with Welsh converting the latter try to make the final score: Kelso 6, Selkirk 40.

A feature of the match was the fearless tackling by James Bett and MacDougall, while the incisive running of Scott Hendrie and Fraser Harkness also deserves special mention.

SELKIRK – F. Harkness, R. Banks, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, J. Welsh, G. Craig, M. Davies, G. Patterson, J. Bett, C. Graur, A. Renwick, R. Fluhler, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, M. Kissick. Replacements: M. Waldron, B. Riddell, M. Robertson.

KELSO – K. Wilkinson, M. Wilson, G. Minto, R. Minto, G. Millar, M. Douglas, A. Tait, P. Grahamslaw, C. Riddell, T. Skeet, S. Patterson, D. Seed, L. Tait, I. Wallace, M. Robertson. Replacements: B. Waddell, R. Wight, A. Common, M. Hastie, F. Robson.

Referee – Cammy Rudkin (Hawick)