Hillhead-Jordanhill 18, Selkirk 29

SELKIRK FORCED TO DIG DEEP FOR COME-FROM-BEHIND VICTORY OVER HILLHEAD

Selkirk prop Cata Graur powers over for Selkirk’s first try in Saturday’s 29-18 win over Hillhead-Jordanhill at Hughenden.

Hooker James Bett looks inside for support after being stranded on the touchline.


Wing-forward Chaney Willemse goes airborne to score a spectacular try for Selkirk early in the second half.

Second row forward Jordan McGowan isn’t taking any prisoners as he charges upfield at Hughenden on Saturday .


[Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

Hillhead-Jordanhill 18, Selkirk 29

IT was almost 13th time unlucky for Selkirk at Hughenden on Saturday, where a rejuvenated Hillhead-Jordanhill team belied their lowly place in BT National 1 to push the league leaders all the way in a nervy, stop-start encounter.

Coming into the match with an unbroken run of 12 victories under their belt, Selkirk were expected to make short shrift of the Glasgow side in a ‘top v. bottom’ clash. Hillhead-Jordanhill’s players clearly hadn’t read the script, taking the lead three times in the game and matching the visitors for commitment and effort.

Afterwards Selkirk backs coach Cameron Cochrane said it had definitely been a wake-up call for the Philiphaugh players. “Some of our boys just thought they had to turn up and another win would come along, but Hillhead are clearly beginning to gel as a team and stuck in well.

“A high error count didn’t help our cause, with too many passes being spilled and scoring chances not taken. That said, the boys were able to regroup in the second half and tighten things up. Once the confidence returned things started going to plan, and it was obviously very pleasing to not only get the win but a bonus point to boot.

“There aren’t going to be any easy games from now until the end of the season,” added Cammy, “starting this weekend with Dundee, who’ve been putting together some good results lately. The players know they’ll have to be back to their very best this Saturday, and we’ll be working extra hard at training to ensure this happens.”

Hillhead-Jordanhill took the lead in the 6th minute from a Nik Jurisic penalty. Soon afterwards Selkirk edged in front thanks to an unconverted try by prop Cata Graur, who bulldozed his way over following a line-out on Hills’ five-metre line.

On the half-hour mark Josh Welsh increased the visitors’ lead to 8-3 from a penalty, but two minutes before the interval Hillhead stunned Selkirk with an interception try. A loose pass was scooped up by home full-back Richie Graham, who raced 50 metres to score a try which Jurisic converted, making the halftime score Hillhead-Jordanhill 10, Selkirk 8.

Some straight talking by the Selkirk coaches during the interval had the desired effect. Within two minutes of the restart, openside flanker Chaney Willemse was up in support of team-mate Darren Clapperton to take the wing’s off-load and slice through the home defence to score his first try for Selkirk. Welsh added the conversion.

Jurisic kicked another penalty for the home team before Graham went over for his second try of the match, putting Hillhead-Jordanhill 18-15 ahead with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Stung into action, Selkirk upped their game and laid siege to the home try line. Although Hills managed to repulse this initial onslaught, an excellent counter-attack - covering almost the full length of the pitch - resulted in a try for Lewis MacLennan, again converted by Welsh.

Now leading 22-18, Selkirk’s forwards were beginning to exert increasing pressure at the set piece. A series of scrums on the Hills line forced the retreating home pack to commit one offence too many for the referee’s liking, resulting in a penalty try being awarded. This not only sealed the result, it also ensured the visitors picked up a vital bonus point.

Selkirk played out the last 10 minutes with 14 men, after Scott Hendrie was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement.

The visitors used all of their replacements in the second half – Bruce Riddell replacing Cata Graur at the interval, John Everitt and Callum McColm coming on for Jordan McGowan and Rory Banks (65mins), with Scott McDonald and Ruairi Wilson taking over from Mitch Utteridge and James Bett in the final quarter.

HILLHEAD-JORDANHILL – Graham, Harte, Williamson, Halliday, McLeneghan, Jurisic, MacFarlane, Mijak, Peston, Stephenson, McKinney, Tulloch, Lean, Bryson, Buzov. Replacements: Planket, Stove, Grove, Gagleoni, Mayes.

SELKIRK - J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, L. MacLennan, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton, R. Banks, M. Davies, G. Patterson, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. McGowan, M. Utteridge, M. Kissick, C. Willemse, C. Marshall. Replacements: C. McColm, B. Riddell, R. Wilson, S. McDonald, J. Everitt.