Selkirk 18, Kelso 12


Selkirk centre Craig MacDougall is tackled by a Kelso opponent in Saturday’s match at Philiphaugh.

Line-out action from Selkirk’s BT National League Division 1 game against Kelso.

Callum McColm and Craig MacDougall get to grips with Kelso prop Chris Keen, watched by Angus Duckett, James Bett and Jordan McGowan.

Selkirk desperately defend their try line as Kelso press for a score in the corner.

Fly-half Callum McColm passes to Kieran Cooney, watched by Ross Nixon and Matt Kissick

Saturday’s mascots - Hamish Scott (left) and Lewis Oliver - pictured before the game with skipper Ross Nixon.

[Photos: Grant Kinghorn Pics]

SELKIRK continued their fine run of form in BT National League Division 1 with a narrow, hard-fought victory over Kelso at Philiphaugh on Saturday.

At the halfway stage of the league competition, the undefeated Souters find themselves 10 points clear at the top of the table thanks to wins over each of the other 11 teams in the league – a feat never before achieved in the club’s history.

Backs coach Cameron Cochrane praised the players’ achievement of completing a clean sweep of opponents in the league, but warned things will only get tougher in the second half of the BT National League 1 programme.

“The boys have done unbelievably well to be where they are at the halfway stage of the league, and all credit to Peter for instilling self-belief and confidence into the whole squad. The players have all bought into what he’s trying to achieve, and the game plan he wants them to adopt.

“It definitely helps that the players already have good technical ability and skills, and this is down to the success of Selkirk’s youth policy over recent years, which is now reaping rewards.

“We knew it would be difficult to keep up the momentum after a two-week break from the leagues, with several players rested to let injuries heal. All credit to Kelso for defending so well and taking the game right down to the wire. It was a really hard contest, and I’m delighted our boys managed to get back to winning ways after two recent losses.”

It proved to be a strange afternoon for Selkirk prop Kieran Cooney, who played for Kelso before joining the Philiphaugh club as its development officer at the start of the current season.

“It did feel a bit weird to be honest,” Kieran told the web site after the match. “In the build-up to the game I’d received a few text messages from some of my former team-mates, but once the whistle blew then my focus was totally on getting another win for Selkirk.

“It was a tough game, and Kelso pushed us hard for the full 80 minutes. New coaches Gary Holborn and Andrew Skeen are obviously making a significant impact, and I wish the Kelso lads all the best for the remainder of their campaign.”

Selkirk got off to a dream start when, in the very first minute, the home forwards stole possession at a Kelso line-out, and swift handling by the threequarters allowed wing Darren Clapperton to go over in the corner for the contest’s first try.

From this point onwards the match swung from one end of the field to the other, with both teams running the ball at every opportunity. Big defensive tackles were very much the order of the day, and there was no further scoring until just before halftime, when Josh Welsh kicked a penalty after Kelso had been caught off-side at the breakdown. Halftime score: Selkirk 8, Kelso 0.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with both teams looking to attack the opposition’s line from all areas of the field. After 57 minutes Welsh stretched Selkirk’s lead to 11 points from another penalty, but soon afterwards the visitors got on the score sheet thanks to a try by Tony Wichary, converted by skipper Andrew Skeen.

Selkirk immediately set up camp close to the Kelso line, and following a line-out near the corner, the home backs ran a move which saw Josh Welsh come into the line at pace. The full-back split the Kelso defence, and raced over for Selkirk’s second try which he also converted.

With time running out, Kelso threw everything at the home line and were rewarded with a try by Skeen, which he also converted. The referee blew for full-time soon afterwards, with Selkirk’s players happy to have registered their 11th straight league win, having been pushed every inch of the way by a fired-up Kelso side.

Josh Welsh was later named the Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’, while other home players to shine were Kieran Cooney and James Bett. In truth every member of the Selkirk team put in a solid shift over the 80 minutes, while Kelso’s committed players certainly deserved their bonus point.

SELKIRK - J. Welsh, R. Nixon, L. MacLennan, C. MacDougall, D. Clapperton, C. McColm, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. McGowan, M. Kissick, C. Willemse, A. Duckett, C. Marshall. Replacements: S. Hendrie, R. Banks, G. Patterson, R. Wilson, S. McDonald.
KELSO – M. Hastie, M. Wilson, D. Buckley, F. Robson, T. Wichary, A. Skeen, A. Tait, C. Keen, R. Henderson, R. Glendinning, C. Rowlandson, M. Gordon, G. Riddell, L. Tait, I. Wallace. Replacements: G. Holborn, G. Harkins, A. Grieve, D. Seed, L. Wichary.

Referee – Mike Harris (RFU).