New scrum-half Dashton Wellman takes on the Kelso defence.

James Bett dives over the line to secure his second try of the match. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN]


IT was another impressive win for Selkirk on Saturday as they took on Kelso in the Booker Border League at Philiphaugh.

An early penalty from Andrew Skeen gave Kelso the lead, and they were relentless in attack from then, with the Souters struggling to get out of their own half.

Come the 17th minute however, a great run from Cata Graur from the halfway line eventually resulted in a pass to hooker James Bett, who stumbled at first but dived over the line to score Selkirk’s first try. This was then converted by stand-off Cameron Gregory-Ring.

Just five minutes later however, another penalty, courtesy of Skeen, gave Kelso another three points, bringing the match back to a closely contested affair.

A few minutes later James Bett, after a great pass from Craig MacDougall, ran through the Kelso defence to put down his, and Selkirk’s, second try of the match. Gregory-Ring then converted to make it Selkirk 14 Kelso 6.

Kelso fought back fiercely after this though, with their second row Ian Wallace scoring their first try of the match. Skeen failed to convert this however, giving Selkirk a bit more breathing room.

The Souters widened the gap right on half time, thanks to a penalty from Gregory-Ring, leaving the score at half time at Selkirk 17 Kelso 11.

Josh Welsh was taken off just after half time due to a slight injury worry, and Scott Tough came on, with Ross Nixon falling back into the fullback position. Lewis MacLennan showed his pace in the 49th minute though, after a superb interception, leaving him to just outrun the Kelso players to score in the corner.

Following this, it was an evenly fought match, with both sides resorting to kicking to get the ball away from their halves. Bruce Riddell came on in the 60th minute to replace Cata Graur, and Callum Johnston replaced Max Gordon, who had played well against his former club.

Both sides couldn’t seem to get past each other until new scrum-half Dashton Wellman showed a great piece of skill as he juked past two Kelso forwards, but his follow-up pass was just out of reach of Tough on the wing.

Damian Byrne came on to make his Selkirk debut in the 70th minute, replacing Bett, who received a round of applause for a good performance. Cata Graur also came on again, replacing an injured Bruce Riddell.

This was an effective replacement for Selkirk as Graur pushed through the Kelso defence to put down Selkirk’s fourth and final try. Callum McEwan came on in the final minutes for Craig MacDougall, with the referee eventually blowing his whistle to finish a well-contested match.

Neill Wood, Selkirk’s forwards coach, said after the match: “Kelso were clearly a good, strong side, but this win for us shows signs that we’re getting there. There’s still work to be done for us to even try and replicate last season, so we’ll be working hard at training this week ahead of our first Premiership game against Gala.”

The Man of the Match was awarded to South African scrum-half Dashton Wellman, on his debut appearance for the 1st XV.

SELKIRK: J. Welsh, S. Palomares Lloret, C. MacDougall, R. Nixon, L. MacLennan, C. Gregory-Ring, D. Wellman, K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, J. McGowan, S. McDonald, E. MacDougall, M. Gordon, C. Marshall. Replacements: B. Riddell, C. Johnston, D. Byrne, C. McEwan, S. Tough.

KELSO: G. Mulroy, K. Wilson, G. Johnston, D. Buckley, A. Haig, A. Skeen, P. Hume, H. Boshoff, C. Marshall, B. Robertson, I. Wallace, S. Carnegie, M. Hall, K. Dunbar. Replacements: R. Henderson, S. Lowrie, P. Grahamshaw, R. Ford, G. Harkins, M. Young.

Referee: Graeme Ormiston (Gala Wanderers)