Aberdeen Grammar School 13, Selkirk 42


SILVER LINING. The Selkirk players get the party started at Philiphaugh today, after defeating Peebles 21-9 and being presented with the BT National League Division 1 Quaich. Many congratulations to players, coaches, officials and supporters on a fantastic team effort. PHOTO: GRANT KINGHORN.



SELKIRK clinched the BT National League Division 1 title at Rubislaw on Saturday with a stunning victory over Aberdeen Grammar, taking the team’s unbeaten run in the league to 19 matches.

The win means Selkirk will join fellow Border sides Gala, Melrose and Hawick in the BT Premiership next season, and heralded a night of joyous celebration for the Philiphaugh club’s players, coaches, officials and supporters in Aberdeen.

Selkirk head coach Peter Wright swapped his international media duties at BT Murrayfield for a dry, if chilly Rubislaw on Saturday afternoon, as his troops responded with a spirited performance emblematic of their consistency this season.

“At the start of the campaign we had a lot of guys who had left the club,” Wright told the selkirkrfc.com web site, “and it wasn’t until halfway through the season when we felt we had a realistic chance. The belief as to what we could do came after that.

“We were by far the most consistent team. We had a little bit of luck and had few injuries and I think we got what we thoroughly deserved. We have been out of the top division for a while, and it is good to get them back up. It will be hard work to stay up there, but our next immediate challenge is to stay unbeaten in this league. We will savour the moment and savour those times.”

On his media duties, he added: “It was an interesting choice and Selkirk said I could go [and cover games for radio], and it is really good for me to be here. The guys did really well to weather the early storm, and it was great to watch as the boys were outstanding.”
At one stage of Saturday’s game Aberdeen were reduced to 13 men with Ed Nimmons and Mike Cox both in the sin-bin, but with wind advantage Selkirk showed why they are unbeaten in the league with four tries in an exemplary display of forward power and running rugby.

Fly-half Rory Banks made it a day to remember with six penalties and two conversions, when everything in the Souters’ performance ticked all the right boxes.

Aberdeen played with the wind in the first half and were rewarded with a penalty by Alex Hagart after nine minutes. The home forwards put Selkirk under pressure before the first of Banks’ penalties levelled the scores. The game ebbed and flowed, with Grant Ryan touching down and Hagart converting to give the home side a 10-3 lead.

Four minutes later Scott Hendrie went over for a try in the left-hand corner while Ed Nimmons was in the sin-bin for a late challenge on Mikey Davies. Aberdeen were soon reduced to 13 men when Mike Cox was also yellow-carded for persistent fouling after Hagart had kicked a penalty.

Selkirk were soon back in the driving seat as Lewis MacLennan touched down and Banks put Selkirk 19-13 up at half-time with a penalty.

The second half was one-way traffic, with Banks banging over three more penalties and Ewan MacDougall adding a third try which Banks converted. With seven minutes remaining Jordan McGowan scored the visitors’ bonus point try, Banks adding the conversion to put the icing on the cake.

The BT National 1 trophy will be presented to Selkirk at this Saturday’s game against Peebles at Philiphaugh.

SELKIRK - J. Welsh; S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, C. MacDougall, L. MacLennan; R. Banks, M. Davies; K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. Everitt, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, C. Marshall. Replacements: D. Swinbanks, J. McGowan, R. Wilson, G. Patterson, M. Utteridge.

Referee – Neil Paterson (Dundee HSFP).

LEFT – Ewan MacDougall bursts clear to score Selkirk’s third try in Saturday’s 42-13 victory over Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw. RIGHT – Wing Scott Hendrie dives over in the corner for Selkirk’s first try.

LEFT – Selkirk scrum-half Mikey Davies was at his elusive best on Saturday. RIGHT – Rory Banks kicks another penalty to put yet more distance between Selkirk and Aberdeen Grammar on Saturday.

LEFT – Determination is written all over Mitch Utteridge’s face as he carries ball upfield. RIGHT – Number eight Callum Marshall launches another Selkirk attack, with skipper Matt Kissick in support.

LEFT – Jordan McGowan is engulfed by ecstatic team-mates after scoring Selkirk’s fourth try (his first for the club’s 1st XV). RIGHT – Selkirk players and coaches celebrate a famous victory after the final whistle.

LEFT – Angus Duckett and Craig MacDougall savour the moment in the dressing room at Rubislaw. RIGHT – Selkirk’s most capped internationalist, John Rutherford, congratulates Kieran Cooney, Matt Kissick and Douglas Swinbanks.

LEFT – Selkirk’s success is toasted by head coach Peter Wright, junior vice-president Rob Forrest, team manager Tom Ramage, president Mick Craig, backs coach Cameron Cochrane and forwards coach Neill Wood. RIGHT – ‘We’ll support you evermore!’: Billy Bryson, John Rutherford, Audrey & Mick Craig, Eric Forster, Rob Forrest, Susan & George Welsh, and Bev MacLennan.

Cick here to view a gallery of Grant's photos from this game.