SELKIRK WITHSTAND ABERDEEN COMEBACK TO REGISTER BONUS-POINT VICTORY

The Selkirk front row of Lwando Mabenge, Ruairi Wilson and Kieran Cooney prepare to pack down against their Aberdeen Grammar counterparts in Saturday’s BT National League 1 fixture at Rubislaw. [Photo: RICHARD SWEETNAM]

ABERDEEN GRAMMAR 32, SELKIRK 36

SELKIRK’S players held their nerve in the face of a spirited second half fightback by Aberdeen Grammar to record their first away win of the season in Saturday’s BT National League 1 fixture at Rubislaw. The victory sees them leapfrog Aberdeen to take eighth spot in the league table.
The return of Ciaran Whyte at stand-off gave Selkirk’s threequarter line fresh impetus, with all six of the Souters’ tries being scored by backs – Darren Clapperton notching a hat-trick to take his try tally to 12 in just eight games.
Blindside flanker Scott McDonald also emerged as one of Selkirk’s stand-out performers on the day. Making his first start of the season for the 1st XV, his tireless work at the breakdown, generation of turnovers and uncompromising defensive work earned him Selkirk’s ‘Man of the Match’ award.
As the game unfolded Selkirk’s scrummaging went from strength to strength, with props Kieran Cooney and Lwando Mabenge putting in solid shifts.
A major plus-point for the Souters was the re-appearance in a Selkirk jersey of James Bett. Although switching allegiance to Boroughmuir at the start of the campaign, the hooker’s sojourn with the city club didn’t go as planned, and he returned to Philiphaugh last week.
Late in the game, however, it looked as though the hooker’s comeback was destined to be anything but a happy one. Having come on as a replacement for Ruairi Wilson early in the second half, 25 minutes later Bett was forced from the field with a facial injury.
At first it was feared he might have suffered a repeat of the fractured cheekbone he sustained against Gala at Netherdale last season. However, an X-ray at the BGH on Sunday showed there had been no fracture, and the soft tissue injury will be assessed by the Selkirk medical team later this week.
Selkirk led 24-13 at halftime thanks to tries from Darren Clapperton (3) and Craig MacDougall, with Josh Welsh adding two conversions. After the break the visitors added two more touchdowns, from Ross Nixon and Lewis MacLennan, plus a conversion from Josh Welsh.
With just six minutes to go, Aberdeen hauled themselves back to within four points of the visitors’ total, but Ross Nixon’s men refused to hit the panic button and were camped on the home team’s try line when the referee finally blew for no-side.
SELKIRK - D. Clapperton, S. Hendrie, L. MacLennan, R. Nixon, J. Welsh, C. Whyte, M. Davies, K. Cooney, R. Wilson, L. Mabenge, P. Forrest, M. Gordon, S. McDonald, M. Robertson, E. MacDougall. Replacements: J. Bett, M. Waldron, D. Allan, C. MacDougall, J. Wallace
Referee – Finlay Clark (Edinburgh).