Selkirk ‘A’ 17, GHA 2nds 19

YOUNG SELKIRK ‘A’ SIDE KEEP BATTLING TO THE END, BUT GHA 2nds HAVE THE FINAL SAY

LEFT – Selkirk’s Ross Purves finds himself in heavy traffic against GHA 2nds on Saturday. RIGHT – Scrum-half Craig Bruce sets Selkirk’s threequarter line in motion.

LEFT – Second row forward John Everitt fights his way upfield in the first half. RIGHT – Jack Houston wins clean line-out ball for Selkirk. [Photos: LESLEY BRUCE]

THERE was heartbreak for a young Selkirk ‘A’ side at Philiphaugh on Saturday, when GHA 2nds fly-half Murray Houston kicked a penalty two minutes from time to deny the Souters an opening day victory in this BT Reserve League National 2 fixture.

The home team had struggled to contain the strong-running, hard-tackling Glasgow team in the opening stages of the contest, with the powerful running of visiting centres Gordon Adams and Marc McFarlane stretching the home defences to the limit.

GHA opened the scoring with a 19th minute penalty from Houston, before wing Andrew Spowart sprinted over for the game’s first try, converted by Houston, to put the visitors 10-0 ahead.

Selkirk lost the services of scrum-half Ross Purves, yellow-carded for over-vigorous use of the boot at a ruck. However, this appeared to galvanise the home team, with skipper Scott McDonald – in excellent form throughout – leading by example with a series of charges to the heart of the GHA defence.

It looked as though Craig Bruce had scored for Selkirk after chasing his own chip over the line, but the referee ruled he had knocked on in the act of touching down the ball. Turnover ball then allowed senior player Scott Hendrie to show his class by twice featuring in a move that ended with a try in the left-hand corner by Darren Knox.

A second Houston penalty stretched GHA’s lead, but just on half time a great break by Alistair Lyall from half-field and more slick support play by Hendrie saw Ruairi Wilson cross for the home team’s second try. Halftime score: Selkirk ‘A’ 10, GHA 2nds 13.

Selkirk took the lead for the first time in the match when Bruce gathered Knox’s clever chip-kick to make ground before off-loading to the supporting Hendrie, who sprinted over the line to score. Knox’s successful conversion put the home side ahead 17-13.

Selkirk kept up the pressure, and Ruairi Wilson was unlucky to have what looked like a try from a front-of -lineout move disallowed. This seemed to take the wind out of the home team’s sails, and a string of penalties awarded against Selkirk resulted in two being sent straight between the posts by Houston to give GHA the win.

Afterwards Selkirk ‘A’ coach Fraser Jack told the selkirkrfc.com web site: “All credit to GHA, who were a decent outfit and kept us under a lot of pressure throughout the match. They were quick to capitalise on our mistakes, but our players stuck in well and almost pulled off the win.

“We’ve a very young squad this year, and I’m sure they will have learnt a lot today. We’ll take these lessons into training this week, and will work hard to put things right for Saturday’s away game against Dumfries Saints 2nds.”

SELKIRK – S. Hendrie, C. Bruce, J. Elliot, A. Lyall, L. Martin, D. Knox, R. Purves, C. Turnbull, R. Wilson, S. Mackay, J. Everitt, R. Cook, S. McClymont, P. Anderson, S. McDonald. Replacements: K. Ramage, J. Houston, N. Wielbo, W. McClymont.

Referee – Ian Ramage (Berwick).