Selkirk 77, Hillhead-Jordanhill 5


SILENT TRIBUTE. Selkirk and Hillhead-Jordanhill players observe a minute’s silence prior to Saturday’s match in memory of former Selkirk president Frank McCudden, who passed away last month. [Photo: JOHN SMAIL]

LEFT – Skipper Andrew Renwick pictured before the game with official Rhinos mascots Fraser Kelly and Finlay Smith.

Ewan MacDougall oozes class as he eludes the final Hillhead-Jordanhill defender to score a try.

ANOTHER high-octane performance rocketed Selkirk to the top of the BT National League Division 1 table on Saturday, following their dazzling 12-try victory over an out-of-sorts Hillhead-Jordanhill at Philiphaugh. The high-scoring Souters have now racked up 32 tries in their past four games.

However, head coach Peter Wright is far too wily a campaigner to let such remarkable statistics cloud his vision, and after the final whistle was at pains to stress the size of the task facing the team at Dundee this coming weekend. “It’s obviously pleasing to have made a good start to our league campaign, but it’s very early days and these wins will count for nothing if the players don’t front up at Mayfield on Saturday.

“I thought we held our shape and discipline really well today, and showed we’re capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. It was also good to see the three youngsters come off the bench in the second half. They all made a contribution, and the experience should stand them in good stead for future appearances.”

The three teenagers in question – Darren Knox, Phil Anderson and Sam Mackay – only came up to Philiphaugh this season from Selkirk Youth Club, and repaid the selectors’ confidence with workmanlike displays. With his very first touch of the ball Knox confidently stepped inside his man to release Josh Welsh for what appeared to be a fine try, only for the score to be chalked off for a forward pass.

With a clutch of Croatian players making their debuts for the visitors, and with the club having lost the services of a significant number of key players at the end of last season, it was hardly surprising the Hillhead-Jordanhill team looked in need of extra time on the training field. However, time to settle was exactly what Selkirk’s players denied them, with the home side’s high-tempo style of play causing havoc in the city team’s ranks.

Josh Welsh opened the scoring with a sixth minute penalty, before Darren Clapperton scored Selkirk’s first try with a try wide on the right, cutting inside the last two defenders in trademark style. Welsh converted to put the home team 10-0 ahead.

Selkirk’s excellent support play and confidence with ball in hand was perfectly illustrated when skipper Andrew Renwick’s clever one-handed back-pass allowed Mikey Davies to slice through the Hills defence. The scrum-half off-loaded to half-back partner Callum McColm, who raced under the posts for the home side’s second try.

On the 27-minute mark a knock-on by Hillhead-Jordanhill was snapped up by Lewis MacLennan, who in turn released Clapperton on a 55-metre sprint down the touchline for his second try of the match.

Straight from the restart McColm managed to weave his way past three would-be tacklers, before returning Mikey Davies’ earlier favour by creating the space to send the scrum-half over the line for Selkirk’s bonus point try. Welsh’s conversion sailed over.

Just before the interval an excellent line-out steal by Callum Marshall allowed Selkirk to clear their lines after a period of Hillhead pressure. Soon afterwards John Everitt gathered a line-out overthrow to make ground up the middle, and when the ball was spun out to Josh Welsh, the full-back outstripped the Hills cover to score near the corner and give the Souters a 34-0 halftime lead.

Selkirk showed no sign of taking their foot off the accelerator after the interval, with Jordan McGowan and Ewan MacDougall’s ball-carrying drives constantly ringing alarm bells in Hills’ ranks. Tries by James Bett, Josh Welsh (2), Darren Clapperton and Ewan MacDougall took the score to 65-0, before Craig Bryson scored a consolation touchdown for the visitors. However, Selkirk had the final say with late touchdowns from Lewis MacLennan and Callum Marshall.

Josh Welsh finished the game with a personal haul of 30 points from three tries, a penalty and six conversions, while Rory Banks chipped in with the match’s last conversion to set the seal’s on Selkirk’s biggest-ever league win. The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to Callum McColm.

SELKIRK – J. Welsh, D. Clapperton , L. MacLennan, C. MacDougall, R. Banks, C. McColm, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, B. Riddell, J. McGowan, A. Renwick, E. MacDougall, J. Everitt, C Marshall. Replacements: D. Knox, P. Anderson, S. Mackay, R. Wilson.

HILLHEAD-JORDANHILL – N. Houston, R. Graham, S. Halliday, J. Fermilan, N. Jurisic, C. McLenneghan, J. Phyfer, H. Peston, C. Kerr, L. McKinney, C. Tulloch, I. Majiik, D. Grove, T. Busov. Replacements: M. Dickie, B. Mackenzie, I. Romano, J. Lowry, R. Harte.

Referee – Neil Muir (Forrester).