Selkirk 10, Peebles 27


DIGGING DEEP. Four of the volunteers whose hard work allowed Saturday’s game against Peebles to go ahead. From left – Jamie Turnbull, Dave Williamson, John Turnbull and Bryan Hoggan.

ANY faint hope Selkirk might have entertained of clinching a promotion play-off slot was blown out of the water by a pumped-up Peebles team at Philiphaugh on Saturday.

Having already been defeated twice this season by Selkirk, the men from The Gytes were clearly in no mood to concede a hat-trick of losses, deservedly taking the RBS National League points following a barnstorming second half display which had the home team on the ropes.

Peebles looked the hungrier side throughout most of the contest, bossing the breakdown and putting the hosts under sustained pressure both in set piece and broken play. Selkirk contributed to their own downfall by squandering a handful of scoring chances in the first half, and looked a shadow of the team that had given leaders Boroughmuir such a run for their money seven days previously.

Heavy overnight sleet and rain meant saturated areas of the pitch required forking over by volunteers early on Saturday morning, with the kick-off time delayed by 45 minutes to give the playing surface extra time to dry out.

Selkirk should have taken the lead as early as the second minute when fly-half Rory Banks broke down the grandstand touchline, only to see his inside pass to wing Darren Clapperton fail to go to hand with the try line beckoning.

On the five-minute mark Selkirk did opening the scoring. Full-back Fraser Harkness forced a turnover, and when Peebles were penalised at the next ruck, Banks found touch on the Peebles 22. Matt Kissick secured possession at the line-out, Ricky Fluhler carried on the drive, and a penalty for offside against the visitors allowed Banks to put the first points on the board.

Ten minutes later it was Selkirk’s turn to stray offside and Peebles stand-off Donald Anderson stepped up to send over the penalty and tie the scores at 3-3.

Back came Selkirk, with James Bett being held up over the visitors’ line following Kissick’s quickly taken tap penalty. Two further handling errors by Selkirk then allowed Peebles off the hook, but a powerful run by Fraser Harkness and deft off-load to Matt Kissick saw the Kiwi number eight burrow over for the game’s first try. Banks’ conversion put the home side 10-3 ahead.

Selkirk continued to press forward, with Ross Nixon’s inside break allowing Angus Duckett to make good ground down the left flank before being forces into touch. Just before the interval Fraser Harkness and Peebles lock Jonathan Swiatek received yellow cards for an off-the-ball altercation on the left touchline.

With the elements in their favour in the second half, Peebles stepped up the tempo of their play and began to dominate both territory and possession. In the 46th minute Selkirk paid the price for conceding a turnover when Peebles centre Callum Scott scooped up a loose ball and sprinted clear to score close to the posts. Anderson’s conversion levelled the scores at 10-10.

A penalty for a high tackle on Josh Welsh allowed the home side to set up camp deep in Peebles territory, but another turnover saw Peebles wing Neil Hogarth burst downfield and take play to Selkirk’s 5-metre line. Moments later Connor Blyth punished more slack play by Selkirk, dashing 60 metres downfield for his side’s second try of the half. Anderson’s conversion put Peebles 17-10 up.

Selkirk skipper Andrew Renwick found himself in the sin-bin soon afterwards for over-vigorous rucking, and when Harkness was then penalised for crossing, another Anderson penalty increased the visitors’ lead to 20-10.

The point of no return for Selkirk came when Peebles skipper Warren Kearney romped over for a try 12 minutes from time. Although Selkirk’s replacement wing Lewis MacLennan almost got over for a score in the corner in the game’s closing minutes, by then the result was well beyond the Souters’ reach.

Ross Nixon was later named the Four Season Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’.

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, M. Kissick. Replacements: L. MacLennan, C. Marshall, R. Purves, B. Riddell.

PEEBLES – G. Raeburn, C. Blyth, C. Scott, D. Munday, N. Hogarth, D. Anderson, S. McCormick, A. Brown, M. Carryer, J. Menzies, J. Swiatek, R. Brown, G. Hogarth, K. Brown, W. Kearney. Replacements: B. Glasgow, A. Warnock, D. Clancy, D. Wills.

Referee – Daniel Shaw (SRU).

HARD YARDS. Selkirk prop Cata Graur takes on the Peebles defence in Saturday’s rearranged RBS National League fixture at Philiphaugh.

SAFE PAIR OF HANDS. Selkirk number eight Matt kissick tidies up loose ball watched by scrum-halves Mikey Davies and Scott McCormick. [Photos: John Smail]