SELKIRK ‘A’ DIG DEEP TO PULL
OFF MAGNIFICENT VICTORY OVER TOUGH MUSSELBURGH SIDE
Musselburgh 2nds had
to use triple-marking to keep Selkirk ‘A’ centre Lewis MacLennan in check on Saturday.
Kerr Gerrard (left
photo) and Donald Nichol dive over the whitewash to score two of Selkirk ‘A’s three tries against Musselburgh 2nds
Stand-off Callum McColm
came through his comeback game for Selkirk ‘A’ with flying colours at Pinkie playing fields.
Selkirk ‘A’ players gather
round skipper Lwando Mabenge after his last game for the club at Musselburgh on Saturday. Standing, from left:
Ally Lyall, Lewis Martin, Donald Nichol, Robbie Reilly, Gavin Ross, Ross Purves, Jack Houston, Callum McEwan, Rory
Hamilton, Ruairi Wilson. Kneeling/crouching: Jimmy Stephen, Callum McColm, Kieran Cooney, Willie McClymont, Lwando
Mabenge, Dave Allan, Lewis MacLennan, Rob Cook & Kerr Gerrard.
[Photos: CAROLE GERRARD]
MUSSELBURGH 2nds 18, SELKIRK ‘A’
DOWN to 13 men for the final four minutes of Saturday’s
BT Reserve League National 2 match at Pinkie, and with Musselburgh hammering away at their try line, it looked
as though Selkirk ‘A’s heroic efforts in clinging to a narrow four-point lead might ultimately count for nothing.
It took an inspired piece of rugby by Selkirk’s Lewis MacLennan to save the day. The talented centre somehow managed
to secure a turnover as the home forwards bore down on the visitors’ line, allowing Ross Purves to boot the ball
into touch and the referee to finally blow for no-side.
“It was a fantastic performance by the whole team,” Selkirk ‘A’ forwards coach Neil Darling said after the game,
“and I couldn’t be happier for the boys. The players have had to endure some heavy defeats this season, but they’ve
never once lost their self-belief.
“The character shown by these players today, against a very good Musselburgh side, was outstanding, and the fact
so many of them were making their comebacks after serious injuries underlines that achievement.”
To mark his final appearance in a Selkirk jersey, prop Lwando Mabenge took over as the visitors’ captain, and soon
set the benchmark for his team-mates with a couple of thundering runs. However, it was the home side who made the
more enterprising start, racing to an 8-0 lead through a try by Ross Young and penalty from the boot of Liam Fraser.
Selkirk hit back when wing Kerr Gerrard burst clear to score a try in the left-hand corner, and just before halftime
Callum McColm – making his first appearance since fracturing his jaw against the same opponents on September 3
– dummied his way over for another score, adding the conversion to give Selkirk a 12-8 interval lead.
Early in the second half Musselburgh snatched the lead back through a try from wing Cammy McMillan. At this point
Selkirk stepped up a gear, with Kieran Cooney’s experience, Donald Nichol’s dynamism and Jack Houston’s sterling
line-out work keeping the home forwards’ hands full.
Behind the scrum Callum McEwan was having a fine game in the No. 9 jersey, showing no ill-effects from his hand
injury and spearheading many of the visitors’ best attacks with breaks round the fringes.
Great lead-up work by MacLennan and McColm then allowed Selkirk ‘man of the match’ Nichol to burst over for the
Souters’ third try, with Rory Hamilton’s conversion and a successful penalty kick putting the Philiphaugh men 22-13
Musselburgh now threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Selkirk. The home team’s chances were boosted when Gerrard
and Hamilton both received yellow cards in the game’s dying stages, and a Fraser try put Musselburgh right back
in the frame.
In the final frantic minutes of the contest, Selkirk’s players somehow managed to keep their nerve and composure,
giving a much-needed boost to the Souters’ efforts to escape the National 2 relegation zone.
MUSSELBURGH 2nds – J. Doig, C. McMillan, M. Scott, C. Veitch, A. Bismal, R. Smith, L. Fraser, D. Grant, J. Crain,
C. Buchan, T. Hamilton, N. Clarke, C. Owenson, G. Neill, R. Young. Replacements: D. Hodge, C. Pryde, B. Stott,
J. Dickson, R. Stott, S. Galashnan.
SELKIRK ‘A’ – G. Ross, L. Martin, L. MacLennan, D. Allan, K. Gerrard, C. McColm, C. McEwan, R. Reilly, R. Wilson,
L. Mabenge, J. Houston, K. Cooney, R. Cook, R. Purves, D. Nichol. Replacements: A. Lyall, R. Hamilton, J. Stephen,
Referee – Ewan Haggarty (Edinburgh).