Selkirk 32, Jed-Forest 0

PLAYED 18, WON 18 – SELKIRK STILL UNBEATEN FOLLOWING SOLID VICTORY OVER JED

LEFT – Full-back Josh Welsh rounds Jed’s Lewis Young to score Selkirk’s second try in Saturday’s 32-0 win over the Royal Blues. RIGHT – Number eight Callum Marshall on his way to scoring Selkirk’s fourth try in the final minutes of the contest.

LEFT – Angus Duckett and Mikey Davies join forces to halt the progress of former Selkirk player Fraser Harkness. RIGHT – Selkirk’s loosehead prop Kieran Cooney prepares for contact, watched by team-mate Rory Banks.

LEFT – Cata Graur tries to fight off the attention of Jed’s Scott Raeburn and Fraser Harkness in Saturday’s game. RIGHT – Selkirk blindside flanker Ewan MacDougall on the charge, with team-mates Angus Duckett and Mikey Davies ready to lend support.

LEFT – Selkirk lock forward John Everitt battles to clear his lines. RIGHT – Selkirk wing Scott Hendrie prepares to off-load in the second half of the match.

LEFT – Selkirk’s official mascots on Saturday were twin brothers Felix and Oscar Baxter, pictured before kick-off with skipper Matt Kissick. RIGHT – Groundsman Brian Cassidy and his son Liam took charge of the scoreboard on Saturday. Also pictured is former Selkirk skipper Dave Firth . [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

SELKIRK are now just one win away from securing the BT National League Division 1 title and automatic promotion to the BT Premiership.

Saturday’s convincing bonus point victory over Jed-Forest at Philiphaugh stretched the Souters’ lead at the top of the table to 17 points over rivals Stewart’s/Melville FP and GHA, and with a maximum of 20 points on offer in the final four fixtures, another win would see Selkirk crowned champions.

No-one was happier with Saturday’s win over Jed-Forest than Selkirk’s director of rugby Cameron Cochrane. “Whichever way you look at it, that was a dominant display by the boys today,” he told the selkirkrfc.com web site after the match.

“I thought we played the breakdown well, our discipline was good, and we were able to control the game for long periods. I also thought our defence was tremendous, especially the way everybody fought so hard to keep our line intact and not concede a score.

“The spirit in this team is exceptional, and the players deserve credit for rising to all the challenges this unbeaten run has thrown up. We lost the services of Callum McColm at Marr last week when he picked up a knee injury, but Rory Banks took over the No. 10 jersey today and did a great job for us.

“Our game at Aberdeen this Saturday is sure to be another tough contest, and I’m confident the players will approach it with the same commitment and focus they’ve shown for all of their games to date.”

Playing against the wind in the first half, Selkirk made all the early running but couldn’t find a way through Jed-Forest’s well organised defence. The home team put its first points on the board in the sixth minute, when Rory Banks landed a penalty after the Jed front row had been penalised at a scrum.

Ten minutes later a quickly taken tap penalty saw Angus Duckett burst clear and off-load to James Bett. The move was carried on by Ross Nixon, who in turn fed out to Scott Hendrie, with the Selkirk wing diving over in the right-hand corner tor a try (only awarded after referee Charles Samson had conferred with the touch-judge).

Selkirk kept up the pressure, with Mikey Davies collecting his own kick ahead to take play deep into Jed territory. Banks then sent a grubber kick over the Jed try line, but Lewis Young won the race to the touchdown to clear the danger.

A counter-attack by Gregor Young, followed by a successful Jed turnover, finally gave the visiting supporters something to cheer about. However, it was Selkirk who struck another decisive blow when Duckett and Bett combined to send Josh Welsh running behind the posts unopposed for the Souters’ second try. Banks’ conversion put Selkirk 15-0 ahead.

Just before the interval Jed prop Greg Nagle was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement, and with Jed’s other prop already off injured, the game went to uncontested scrums at the start of the second half.

With Lewis MacLennan on as a replacement for the injured Darren Clapperton, Selkirk went 18-0 up in the 46th minute thanks to a second Rory Banks penalty. Selkirk’s Mitch Utteridge and Gordon Patterson then came on for Cata Graur and John Everitt.

Shortly afterwards Greg Nagle returned to the field from the sin bin, but almost immediately Jed were down to 14 men again when hooker Scott Raeburn was yellow-carded. The Royal Blues made light of this setback, and a strong run by former Selkirk skipper Fraser Harkness took play close to the Selkirk line.

Despite being unable to exploit their numerical superiority, Selkirk made the game safe in the 61st minute. A line-out on the Royal Blues’ five-metre line was won by Selkirk’s man of the match Matt Kissick, and a couple of phases later Rory Banks ghosted through the stretched Jed defence to score his team’s third try, which he also converted.

The visitors then had their best spell of the game, and only a magnificent turnover by Angus Duckett – who stripped the ball from the grip of a Jed player in the very act of scoring – allowed the Souters to clear their lines. Duckett then found himself sent to the sin-bin for the final 10 minutes of the match, but by then all his hard work had helped put Selkirk firmly on the victory trail.

Two minutes from time Callum Marshall clinched Selkirk’s bonus point with a try which saw the number eight ricochet off a Jed defender, before somehow catapulting himself over the line. Banks’ conversion set the seal on a famous win.

The Four Season Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to Matt Kissick.

SELKIRK - J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, C. MacDougall, D. Clapperton, R. Banks, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. Everitt, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, C. Marshall. Replacements: L. MacLennan, S. Tough, G. Patterson, R. Wilson, M. Utteridge.

JED-FOREST – L. Young, D. Wallace, G. Young, F. Harkness, R. Shirra-Gibb, D. Ritchie, A. Thomson, G. Nagle, S. Raeburn, N. Bates, C. Skeldon, G. Law, S. Ainslie, M. Weekley, D. Grieve. Replacements: C. Page, J. Szkudro, J. Barrie, R. Miler.

Referee – Charles Samson (Howe of Fife).