Peebles 3, Selkirk 18


Selkirk fly-half Callum McColm dives over the line for Selkirk’s first try against Peebles at The Gytes on Saturday.

Openside flanker Angus Duckett launches an attack, watched by team-mate Jordan McGowan.

Full-back Josh Welsh manages to get his pass away to skipper Ross Nixon, as members of the Selkirk bench look on.

The determined look on Craig MacDougall’s face says it all: Selkirk RFC, do or die!

Hooker James Bett stretches out his hand to score Selkirk’s second try to seal Saturday’s victory.

Prop Kieran Cooney on the charge, watched by Lewis MacLennan and Scott McDonald.

Photos: Grant Kinghorn Pics

THE Selkirk juggernaut rolled on at The Gytes on Saturday, where Ross Nixon’s team stretched its unbeaten run in BT National League Division 1 to 10 matches after a gutsy victory over local rivals Peebles.
In a bruising encounter, with no quarter asked or given, the visitors’ credentials for staying in front of their promotion rivals were given a severe examination. To the relief of their sizeable travelling support, Selkirk’s players showed they’re very much in it for the long haul, producing another confident, iron-willed display.
In the preceding week, rugby pundits had predicted the fixture would be given extra edge by dint of Selkirk head coach Peter Wright having held a similar position with Peebles last season. However, the former Scotland & British Lions prop prepared his charges for Saturday’s game in the same meticulous manner he’d done for the Souters’ previous nine league fixtures, so it was very much ‘business as usual’.
The opening exchanges of Saturday’s game saw the visiting forwards battle hard to gain the upper hand in both set-piece and broken play, with the Peebles eight equally determined to stamp their own authority on proceedings.
During the first half-hour of the contest Selkirk managed to shade their opponents in terms of possession and territory, but failed to put points on the board, largely thanks to some resolute defending by Peebles, plus some uncharacteristic penalty goal misses by full-back Josh Welsh.
Somewhat against the run of play, the home side succeeding in breaking the deadlock in the 34th minute when Greg Raeburn landed a penalty after Selkirk had been penalised at a ruck. A yellow card for Angus Duckett soon afterwards compounded matters, but just before halftime Welsh atoned for his earlier misses by slotting a penalty to make the interval score 3-3.
The wet conditions were by now hampering the attacking options of both sides, but midway through the second half Selkirk struck a decisive blow. An awkward pass from scrum-half Mikey Davies ended up at the feet of his half-back partner Callum McColm, who used some nifty footwork to trap the ball before scooping it up and cutting back across the pitch to wrong-foot the home defence and score the game’s first try. Welsh’s successful conversion put Selkirk 10-3 ahead.
At this point Selkirk lost the services of wing Darren Clapperton with a hamstring strain, his place going to Lewis MacLennan, while prop forward Gordon Patterson also came off the bench to take over from Cata Graur in the front row.
With both defences continuing to cancel each other out, 10 minutes from time Peebles hooker Ryan McConnell (who earlier in the match had received a yellow card) was then shown a red card by the referee after bringing down Selkirk’s rolling maul.
The visitors opted to kick for touch, and another driving maul was launched towards the home line – this time hooker James Bett getting the ball down for Selkirk’s second try of the game.
This was the signal for yet more changes in personnel for the visitors – Angus Duckett being replaced by Scott McDonald, Ruairi Wilson coming on for James Bett and newcomer Chaney Willemse making his senior debut for the club as a replacement for Jordan McGowan.
To their credit Peebles fought tooth and nail in the game’s closing stages to get over Selkirk’s try line, but shortly before the final whistle Josh Welsh kicked a second penalty to wrap up another impressive showing by the league leaders.
Selkirk fly-half Callum McColm was named the Booker Border League Man of the Match, following a tidy display of line-kicking, game control and distribution. However, every Selkirk squad member contributed to a thoroughly satisfying team effort, with the forwards in particular showing tremendous commitment and courage.

SELKIRK – J. Welsh, C. McEwan, R. Nixon, C. MacDougall, D. Clapperton, C. McColm, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. McGowan, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, C Marshall. Replacements: L. MacLennan, G. Patterson, S. McDonald, R. Wilson, C. Willemse.