Selkirk ‘A’ number eight Harry Borthwick leads from the front in Saturday’s game against Stewart’s/Melville FP 2nds at Philiphaugh, with Rory Hamilton ready to lend support.

Centre Ali Lyall cuts through the Stewart’s/Melville FP defence to set up yet another attack in Saturday’s hard-fought BT Reserve League National 2 encounter.

Hooker Finlay Amos was always in the thick of the action during Saturday’s match against Stewart’s/Melville FP 2nds at Philiphaugh.



SELKIRK ‘A’s nail-biting win over a big, battling Stewart’s/Melville FP side at Philiphaugh on Saturday was as dramatic as it was welcome. The victory – the Souters’ first of the season, following seven straight losses – might not have lifted Selkirk off the foot of BT Reserve League National 2, but it has given the team’s confidence a massive boost.
“The boys put in huge efforts every Saturday against much bigger opposition, and I’m so chuffed they finally managed to nail that elusive win today,” said forwards coach Neil Darling after the match.
“The extra training session we held on Monday certainly paid off, and I thought the side’s focus and attitude today was outstanding. It’s now up to everyone in the squad to carry this momentum forward into the rest of our league fixtures.”
Apart from the home players’ determination never to throw in the towel – Selkirk didn’t take the lead until the 75th minute – one of the key reasons for the team’s triumph was the outstanding contributions of fly-half Gavin Craig (later named ‘Man of the Match’) and full-back Rory Banks, both of whom kept Selkirk on the front foot through a combination of clever line-breaks and astute positional kicking.
Despite losing centre Douglas Swinbanks with a broken arm on the half-hour mark, Selkirk had a ready-made replacement in Ali Lyall, who brought all his experience to bear in shoring up the midfield and protecting his side’s hard-won possession.
The power of the Colleges’ pack paved the way for the city side’s first two scores – a pushover try in the fifth minute for Ben Docherty and a score by Cammy Taylor from a rolling maul. Two penalties and a try from Banks – following Craig’s break and Swinbanks’ off-load – kept Selkirk in the hunt, but a runaway try from Andy Smith gave the city men a 19-11 interval lead.
Selkirk kept in touch thanks to an Ali Lyall touchdown, before a penalty try allowed Colleges back in the driving seat. Fine tries by Lewis Martin and Dave Allan were countered by a touchdown from visiting centre Dan Witko, making the score 31-30 in the visitors’ favour with five minutes left on the clock.
Two well-struck penalties by Rory Banks ultimately proved enough to see the Souters home and dry, bringing the curtain down on a highly competitive and entertaining contest.
Special mentions go to replacements Kerr Gerard, Ryan Shiell and Kieran Blair, all making their debuts for Selkirk ‘A’ on Saturday.
SELKIRK – R. Banks, L. Martin, D. Swinbanks, D. Allan, R. Hamilton, G. Craig, R. Legge, J. Stephen, F. Amos, R. Reilly, G. Baird, D. Nichol, R. Cook, J. Griffin, H. Borthwick. Replacements: S. McKenzie, K. Blair, A. Lyall, R. Shiel, K. Gerrard, K. Thomson.
STEWART’S/MELVILLE – A. Smith, C. Davidson, D. Witko, R. Stewart, J. Somerville, E. Bowen, R. Gilroy, C. Taylor, O. Williamson, C. McKay, W. McKay, G. Henderson, D. Devlin, D. Russell, B. Docherty. Replacements: S. Cubitt, D. Lean, J. Kulgolowski, A. Jess, E. Miller.

Referee – Paul Lindsay (Walkerburn).