Marr 19, Selkirk 42

SOUTERS IN TUNE AT TROON . . . AND NOTHING CAN MARR SELKIRK’S SPECIAL DAY!

LEFT – Full-back Josh Welsh goes over for Selkirk’s first try at Fullarton Park on Saturday. RIGHT – Selkirk’s flying wing Darren Clapperton crosses the whitewash for his 16th try of the season.

LEFT – Angus Duckett passes to team-mate Rory Banks, a split-second before being tackled by a Marr opponent. RIGHT – Callum Marshall prepares to escape the clutches of a group of Marr defenders.

LEFT – Lock John Everitt burrows his way over the line for his first senior try of the campaign. RIGHT – Angus Duckett about to touch down Selkirk’s bonus point try, with James Bett in support.

LEFT – Selkirk’s Mitch Utteridge makes one of his trademark charges up the field on Saturday. RIGHT – There’s no disguising the joy on the Selkirk players’ faces as they leave the pitch after the final whistle.


[Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]

EVERYTHING continues to come up roses for runaway BT National League 1 leaders Selkirk, following their Valentine’s Day victory over Marr at sun-soaked Fullarton Park on Saturday – the Souters’ 17th successive league win.

A blistering opening 25 minutes of high-tempo rugby saw the visitors run in four tries at Marr’s picturesque South Ayrshire ground, not only putting the result beyond reasonable doubt, but more importantly restoring Selkirk’s 16-point lead over nearest challengers GHA at the top of the table..

“The conditions were perfect for us,” Selkirk forwards coach Neill Wood told the selkirkrfc.com web site after the match, “and the boys took full advantage. Marr found it difficult to live with the pace we set in that first quarter, and this laid the foundations for another dominant display.”

Although automatic promotion to the BT Premiership is now looking increasingly likely for the Philiphaugh side, Wood was quick to dampen down any premature title talk. “No-one’s looking beyond the next game, and that’s the philosophy we’ve followed all season.

“Facing Jed this weekend will be another massive test, and the boys know they can’t afford to lose their focus. To date the players have met every challenge thrown at them head-on, and I’m confident they’ll be working every bit as hard in training this week to keep the run going.”

New skipper Matt Kissick continues to prove an inspiring leader, his high work rate and powerful presence in both set-piece and loose play setting a benchmark his team-mates are only too willing to follow.

Equally influential for Selkirk on Saturday was openside Angus Duckett. His speed to the breakdown and unerring ability to win turnover ball makes the Scotland Club XV flanker one of Selkirk’s most consistent performers. On Saturday he capped a five-star display by running in one of Selkirk’s five tries from half-field.

Meanwhile until a leg knock sidelined him midway through the second half, stand-off Callum McColm showed his usual authority and eye for the half-chance, with Rory Banks looking equally at home in the No. 10 jersey after McColm had been taken to the sidelines.

Aussie lock Mitch Utteridge made a significant impact when coming off the replacements bench after the interval, with his strong ball carries and power in the scrums helping steady the ship after Marr staged a second half fightback.

Earlier in the day Selkirk suffered a setback when centre Craig MacDougall had to drop out of the starting line-up after going down with a virus. His place was taken by Ross Nixon, himself out of action with a wrist injury since the Stewart’s/Melville game, who showed no ill-effects from his recent lay-off.

This left Lewis MacLennan as the visitors’ only backs replacement on the bench, meaning that when both Darren Clapperton and Callum McColm retired hurt, hooker James Bett found himself out on the wing for the final quarter of the game.

Ahead 27-12 at halftime, Selkirk’s four first half tries were scored by Josh Welsh, John Everitt, Darren Clapperton and Angus Duckett. Late in the game Gordon Patterson scored the visitors’ fifth try, with Rory Banks making up Selkirk’s total from three penalties and four conversions.

Marr’s points came from tries by Fraser Grant, Angus Johnston and Colin Sturgeon, with the latter two players each adding a conversion.

MARR – R. McGee, S. Bickerstaff, A. Mill, P. Burke, S. Howie, C. Sturgeon, G. Baird, A. Kelly, S. Adair, W. Farquhar, B. Seffen, K. Kirk, A. Johnston, K. Vallance, F. Grant. Replacements: F. Ferguson, O. Rossi, G. Ness, J. McClung, A. Rankin.

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