GHA 15, Selkirk 26

NO STOPPING SELKIRK IN VITAL TO OF TABLE CLASH

LEFT – Selkirk centre Lewis MacLennan finds himself under pressure in Saturday’s 26-15 victory over GHA at Braidholm. Skipper Kieran Cooney awaits developments. RIGHT – Scrum-half Mikey Davies on his way to the line for his second half try.

LEFT – Number eight Callum Marshall rises above the opposition to take clean line-out possession in Saturday’s match at Braidholm. RIGHT – Centre Craig MacDougall bursts clear, with full-back Josh Welsh up in support.

LEFT – Callum McColm manages to get his pass away despite being tackled by a GHA player. RIGHT – Matt Kissick breaks upfield in typically determined fashion, with team-mate Scott McDonald ready to lend a hand if needed.


LEFT – As the whistle goes for full-time, the Selkirk and GHA players show widely differing reactions. RIGHT – At the end of the game Selkirk head coach Peter Wright prepares to shake hands with the GHA coaching team. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

ANOTHER battling display at Braidholm on Saturday saw Selkirk’s players inflict a second successive defeat on fellow promotion pace-setters GHA, allowing the Souters to stretch their lead at the top of BT National League Division 1.

The win was Selkirk’s seventh on the trot – making this the club’s best-ever start to a national league campaign – and puts them seven points ahead of the chasing pack. On Saturday the visitors’ strategy combined control and creativity, with a dominant display by the pack laying the foundations for a deserved victory.

The strong scrummaging and line-out proficiency of the visiting eight kept Selkirk on the front foot for long periods of the contest, with skipper Kieran Cooney giving a stirring lead throughout. No less influential was openside Angus Duckett, whose high work rate in the loose and speed to the breakdown proved a constant thorn in the side of GHA’s defence.

One of the key battles proved to be the duel between GHA’s experienced scrum-half Peter Jericevich and Selkirk’s dynamic No. 9 Mikey Davies. As expected, both players made significant contributions to their respective teams’ causes, but it was Davies’ ability to consistently break the gain line and launch attacks from every area of the pitch that ultimately proved decisive.

GHA had dangerous wings in Euan Greer and Rangi Jericevich , although it was the pace and aggression of Selkirk flying machine Darren Clapperton which caught the eye – the Scotland Thistles sevens player scoring two tries in the match, taking his tally for the season to 11.

Ahead 14-5 at halftime, Selkirk were never behind in the contest, although they had to withstand a torrid closing 10 minutes as the home team launched a sustained assault on the visitors’ try line. Stand-out tackles during this period came from, among others, Ewan MacDougall, brother Craig and replacement scrum-half Scott Tough, all of which helped keep the home attackers at bay.

Selkirk’s first try resulted from a blindside burst by Angus Duckett following quick ball - the flanker sweeping past a couple of defenders before drawing the final man in textbook fashion to send Darren Clapperton sprinting over the line.

Clapperton’s second try had its origins in a break up the middle by full-back Josh Welsh, whose off-load to Craig MacDougall was quickly fed out to the Selkirk left wing, with ‘Clappy’ finishing off the move in typically clinical style.

The Braidholm side hit back through tries by Andrew Gillman and Andrew Boag either side of halftime, with Peter Jericevich adding one conversion and a penalty.

Selkirk’s third try was scored by Mikey Davies, after good lead-up work by Cata Graur and Matt Kissick. The rest of the visitors’ points came from three penalties and a conversion from the boot of Josh Welsh.

Both Callum Marshall and Lewis MacLennan had to retire to the sidelines in the second half after picking up injuries, Scott McDonald and Ross Nixon taking their places. It’s hoped both players will be fit in time for this Saturday’s home match against Marr.

GHA — A. Gillman, R. Jericevich, C. Binnie, A. Auld, E. Greer, A. Goudie, P. Jericevich, S. Carson, D. Malcolm, M. Robertson, J. Auld, C. McGeoch, A. Boag, R. Angus, P. Harkins. Replacements: E. Cavan, J. Leslie, G. Campbell, G. Adams, E. McKirdy.

SELKIRK – J. Welsh, C. McEwan, L. MacLennan, C. MacDougall, D. Clapperton, C. McColm, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. McGowan, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, C Marshall. Replacements: S. Tough, R. Nixon, R. Wilson, G. Patterson, S. McDonald.

Referee – David Changleng (Gala/Peebles).