Selkirk 11, Peebles 10

CLOSE CALL AT PHILIPHAUGH AS SELKIRK JUST MANAGE TO SHADE BATTLING PEEBLES SIDE

LEFT – Selkirk wing Lewis MacLennan cuts inside opposite number Neil Hogarth to score his team’s only try in Saturday’s 11-10 win over Peebles at Philiphaugh. RIGHT – Fly-half Gavin Craig gets his pass away.


LEFT – Angus Duckett powers his way towards the try line. RIGHT – Selkirk skipper Andrew Renwick wins line-out ball. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]


LEFT – Full-back Josh Welsh launches another Selkirk attack. RIGHT – Official mascots Cameron Forster (left) and Arran Hogg accompany Selkirk captain Andrew Renwick out on to the pitch. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

SELKIRK’S players had to dig deep on Saturday to contain a fired-up Peebles team, who kept the home side’s defences at full stretch for long periods of Saturday’s RBS Border Regional Cup fixture at Philiphaugh.

Even with the breeze at their backs in the second half, Selkirk found it impossible to put clear water between themselves and their Border rivals, and it took a penalty from Josh Welsh in the 64th minute to separate the sides. However, the result hung in the balance right up to the final whistle, with the visitors winning a series of injury time line-outs in Selkirk territory to keep home supporters on the edge of their seats.

Peebles started the game at a higher tempo than their hosts, who conceded three penalties inside the first six minutes. Donald Anderson’s kick to touch from the last of these awards saw the visitors’ pack launch a rolling maul towards the Selkirk try line, and another infringement soon afterwards saw goal-kicker Greg Raeburn put Peebles’ first points on the board.

Although Selkirk replied in kind through a Josh Welsh penalty on the 10-minute mark, it was the visitors who continued to show the greater purpose and commitment. Peebles regained the lead after 14 minutes thanks to a try by openside Kieran Brown, who raced under the posts following a series of tightly controlled drives. Raeburn added the conversion to put the visitors 10-3 up.

Stung into action, a quickly taken tap penalty by home scrum-half Mickey Davies saw Josh Welsh launch an attack before feeding Matt Kissick, with the lanky number eight making ground up the left before being stopped. Quick ball allowed Gavin Craig to find Angus Duckett in support on his right, with talented youngster Lewis MacLennan taking the flanker’s off-load to cut inside the Peebles cover and dive over for his first senior try for Selkirk.

Although there was no further scoring before halftime, Selkirk had several chances to go ahead. Two scorching breaks by Gavin Craig almost led to tries – Duckett being tackled in the act of grounding the ball, then Craig himself being tackled from behind in the shadow of the posts after Welsh and Duckett had made the hard yards. Scott Hendrie also had a couple of strong runs, but lacked support when stopped. Halftime score – Selkirk 8, Peebles 10.

Selkirk replaced scrum-half Mikey Davies with Michael McVie at the start of the second half – the ex-captain’s first taste of senior rugby for three months after fracturing his thumb against Watsonians at the end of August. Shortly afterwards Gordon Patterson and James Bett came off the bench to take over from Graham Turner and Ruairi Wilson.

McVie and Raeburn both missed chances at goal before Welsh stepped up to land his second penalty of the afternoon and put Selkirk ahead for the first time in the contest at 11-10. Less than a minute later Raeburn had the chance to restore Peebles’ lead following a deliberate knock-on by Duckett, but the visiting full-back’s attempt drifted wide.

Spurred on by their hard-working Kiwi number eight Warren Kearney (who later required five stitches in a cut above his left eye), Peebles continued to take the game to their hosts. A head knock then forced Matt Kissick to leave the field, his place being taken by Ryan Crockatt, and with seven minutes remaining Welsh had the chance to put his side four points clear but his penalty attempt went wide.

Peebles spent the final minutes of the game deep in Selkirk territory, with the home side’s industrious skipper Jock Renwick securing a vital turnover following a quickly taken tap penalty by the visitors.

The final whistle eventually blew as Peebles continued to press for the winning score, but Selkirk’s players were in no mood to let victory slip through their fingers at such a late stage of the proceedings, keeping their nerve, and their try line, intact.

Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ – Lewis MacLennan.

SELKIRK - J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, L. Kibble, L. MacLennan, G. Craig, M. Davies, G. Turner, R. Wilson, C. Graur, A. Renwick, R. Fluhler, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, M. Kissick. Replacements: M. McVie, J. Bett, R. Crockatt, G. Patterson.

PEEBLES – G. Raeburn, D. Munday, C. Scott, D. Clancy, N. Hogarth, D. Anderson, Scott McCormick, A. Brown, M. Carryer, J. Menzies, J. Swiatek, K. Clyde, C. McCann, K. Brown, W. Kearney. Replacements: J. Cockburn, R. Harrison, D. Hall, C. Blyth, A. Smellie.

Referee – Malcolm Changleng (Gala).