Biggar 23, Selkirk 43

FOCUSED SELKIRK PLAYERS HOLD NERVE FOR HARD-FOUGHT LEAGUE WIN AT BIGGAR

LEFT – Selkirk prop Kieran Cooney on the charge at Hartreemill, watched by Bruce Riddell and Jordan McGowan. RIGHT – Mikey Davies looks to off-load after being collared by Jamie Orr.

LEFT – Mikey Davies feeds team-mate Scott Tough in the build-up to Selkirk’s second try. RIGHT – Selkirk ‘man of the match’ Angus Duckett sets off on another typically determined run.

LEFT – Selkirk scrum-half Mikey Davies charges down Andrew Watt’s clearance kick, before (RIGHT) calmly collecting the ball to run under the posts for Selkirk’s third try of the afternoon.

LEFT – Bruce Riddell can’t disguise his delight as Kieran Cooney burrows over for Selkirk’s bonus point try. RIGHT - Josh Welsh sends over the touchline conversion. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

BUOYED up by their big win in Glasgow the previous weekend, Selkirk got off to a flying start in their opening BT National League Division 1 match against Biggar at Hartreemill on Saturday, with Josh Welsh converting a penalty kick in the third minute. Biggar replied in kind soon afterwards when Selkirk were caught offside at the breakdown.

Welsh kicked another penalty on the 10-minute mark to edge the visitors in front, but this lead was short-lived after Mark Bertram intercepted a pass in midfield to run in under the posts for a try, easily converted by Graham Hunter to put Biggar 10-6 ahead.

Ten minutes before the interval Selkirk lost the services of Callum McEwan with a painful midriff injury, his place being taken by Scott Tough. Two more penalties from the boot of Josh Welsh made the halftime score Biggar 10, Selkirk 12.

Biggar stunned the visitors with a try straight from the kick-off, when a mix-up allowed Bertram to run clear and score under the posts, with Hunter again adding the conversion.

The match’s turning point came when Craig MacDougall intercepted a loose pass as the home side were threatening to increase their lead, and the ever-alert centre raced home from the halfway line to score the visitors’ first try, which Welsh converted.

On the hour mark visiting fly-half Callum McColm broke up the wing and outstripped the Biggar defence to score a converted try. Biggar cut the deficit shortly afterwards with a further unconverted try by Andrew Watt, but from this point onwards it was Selkirk who were calling the shots.

With 11 minutes to go, and Selkirk pressurising the Biggar defence, Mikey Davies charged down Watt’s clearance kick, gathered the rebound and scored under the posts to give Welsh a simple conversion kick. The young full-back then added his fifth penalty of the contest, before a concerted line-out drive by the Selkirk forwards saw Kieran Cooney power over in the corner following a series of rolling mauls. Welsh’s superb conversion sailed over from the touchline, giving him a personal haul of 23 points from the match.

After the final whistle, Selkirk backs coach Cameron Cochrane told the selkirkrfc.com web site he was delighted with the team’s performance. “The boys showed a lot of character today, especially at the start of the second half when the momentum shifted in Biggar’s favour.

“What’s pleasing for the coaches is to see everybody playing for the jersey, and putting in a huge amount of effort to ensure they keep their places in the starting line-up. In the past two matches we’ve been able to keep the scoreboard ticking over, and that’s always a big plus-point.

“Angus Duckett was outstanding for us today, and justly won the Man of the Match award. Craig MacDougall took his try exceptionally well and Callum Marshall made some telling breaks from the base of the scrum. Young Bruce Riddell also showed up strongly in his first start for Selkirk.

“No-one’s getting carried away, however, and Hillhead-Jordanhill will be coming to Philiphaugh this Saturday desperate to do well after suffering a home defeat. The boys all know they have to keep improving, and won’t be surprised to hear me say that a lot of hard work lies ahead of them at this week’s training.”

SELKIRK – J. Welsh, D. Clapperton , L. MacLennan, C. MacDougall, C. McEwan, C. McColm, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, B. Riddell, J. McGowan, A. Renwick, A. Duckett, C Marshall, E. MacDougall. Replacements: S. Tough, S. Forrest, C. Graur, M. Robertson.