Cartha Queens Park 14, Selkirk 72

CRUSHING CUP DEFEAT FOR CARTHA AS SLICK SELKIRK TURN ON THE AFTER-BURNERS

LEFT – Selkirk openside Angus Duckett heads for the Cartha Queens Park line to score on the stroke of halftime. RIGHT – Josh Welsh shows the grit & determination that netted him a brace of tries.

LEFT – Lock Jordan McGowan prepares to off-load, watched by team-mate Callum Marshall. RIGHT – Selkirk centre Lewis MacLennan finds himself in the thick of the action at Dumbreck Road.

LEFT – Selkirk hooker James Bett dives over the whitewash for the second of his three tries. RIGHT – Wing Callum McEwan goes airborne, closely watched by the whole of the Selkirk bench.

LEFT – Selkirk flyer Darren Clapperton looks to touch down nearer the posts for the first of his three scores. RIGHT –Kieran Cooney about to score his first Selkirk try. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

A STORMING second half display swept Selkirk to a convincing victory over Cartha Queens Park in Saturday’s BT National Cup first round tie at Dumbreck Road. The visitors crossed for 11 tries in total – the most tries Selkirk have scored in a match since their 96-0 cup win over Howe of Fife in January, 1998.

Full-back Josh Welsh celebrated his return to the team with two tries and seven conversions for a personal haul of 24 points, while James Bett and wing Darren Clapperton both scored three tries apiece to round off a positive performance by the Philiphaugh men.

Playing with the wind behind them, Selkirk got off to the perfect start when Cartha were caught off-side in front of their own posts and Welsh kicked the simple penalty. Two minutes later the crowd were given a foretaste of what lay ahead, when Clapperton scored the game’s first try after a free-flowing move that had originated deep in Selkirk territory.

Good handling by the visiting backs saw Welsh score under the posts in the 15th minute, with the full-back adding the conversion to put the visitors 17-0 ahead. Cartha’s big pack then began to step up a gear, and with Selkirk forced on to the back foot, the Glasgow side turned pressure into points with two converted tries, cutting the deficit to just three points.

Just before halftime Selkirk regained the initiative with another long-range score, this time openside flanker Angus Duckett being up in support to finish off the move with a try wide out. Welsh kicked his third successful conversion to put the visitors 24-14 ahead at the break.

Coach Peter Wright’s halftime talk must have been right on the money because Andrew Renwick’s men came out for the second half with all guns blazing – launching attacks from every part of the field and showing excellent ball retention and support play.

Replacement hooker James Bett soon made his presence felt by scoring two tries within the space of 10 minutes, one of which was converted by Welsh, and tries followed at regular intervals from Clapperton, Lewis MacLennan, Kieran Cooney, Welsh, Bett (his third) and Clapperton (also his third).

Cartha’s cause wasn’t helped by some persistent infringing around the ruck and maul areas, resulting in no fewer than three yellow cards for home players in the match, leaving the city side with 13 men on the field at one stage of the contest.

Selkirk’s dogged defence was a key feature of the game, with Craig MacDougall and his brother Ewan consistently putting in big hits. James Bett made an immediate impact when coming off the bench in the second half, as did young prop Bruce Riddell, who made life tough for his bigger opposite number at every scrum.

Lock Jordan McGowan continues to improve with each outing, his aggressive ball-carrying proving a potent weapon in Selkirk’s attacking arsenal, while Kieran Cooney’s wealth of is clearly going to stand the Philiphaugh side in good stead for the harder battles to come.

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