FALKIRK HAVE UPPER HAND IN NO-HOLDS-BARRED ENCOUNTER ON BURNMILL PITCH

Selkirk lock Andrew Renwick contests line-out ball in Saturday’s BT National League 1 match against Falkirk on the Burnmill pitch.

Fly-half Gavin Craig prepares to off-load the ball to skipper Ross Nixon, watched by supporters sheltering under umbrellas on the touchline.

Selkirk’s strong-running utility threequarter Ciaran Whyte takes on the Falkirk defence.

Teenage hooker Josh Mackay bursts between two Falkirk players, watched closely by team-mates Kieran Cooney and Mikey Davies.

Selkirk flanker Ian Oosthuizen throws himself forward in a bid to block the clearance kick of Falkirk’s Liam Brims.

[Photos – GRANT KINGHORN PICS]

Selkirk 7, Falkirk 29

WITH parts of the main pitch at Philiphaugh still deemed too dangerous for play after Friday night’s hard frost, Saturday’s rescheduled BT National League 1 fixture between Selkirk and Falkirk was switched, at short notice, to the nearby Burnmill pitch.
This turn of events clearly suited a fired-up Falkirk team, who took full advantage of the narrower dimensions of the playing area to curb their opponents’ expansive style of play.
However, the real turning point in the game came in the ninth minute when Selkirk lock Andrew Renwick was shown a red card by referee Keith Allen, after being adjudged to have made a late challenge on visiting fly-half Liam Brims.
From then on it was always going to be an uphill battle for the short-handed Souters, and Falkirk’s streetwise players had no intention of relaxing their grip on a contest that was never less than full-blooded.
After the match, Selkirk head coach Graham Marshall conceded Falkirk had played the conditions better than the home team, and had seemed less affected by the disruption surrounding the start of the match.
“Our discipline let us down a bit, and we didn’t manage to replicate the accuracy and patience we’d shown the previous weekend against Edinburgh Accies.
“Set piece ball is always crucial, and our line-out didn’t really function today, which inevitably put us on the back foot. Losing Jock after 10 minutes clearly didn’t help either.
“On a positive note, I thought youngsters Josh Mackay and Donald Nichol showed up well, and it’s important to get these guys involved with a view to making a contribution to next season’s campaign.”
It took Falkirk just four minutes to open the scoring. A loose Selkirk pass ended up in the hands of visiting lock David Stoddart, who broke upfield and released wing Jacob Adamson for a try under the posts. This sparked a free-for-all in the dead ball area involving both sets of players, and a penalty was eventually awarded against Selkirk from the restart.
Falkirk fly-half Brims, who had converted Adamson’s try, went for goal from the half-way line but his effort dropped short.
Back came Selkirk, and an excellent positional kick by Josh Welsh pinned the visitors on their own five-metre line. Falkirk stole possession at the line-out, however, and seconds later Andrew Renwick received his marching orders after the incident with Liam Brims.
Ten minutes later the Sunnyside men were 14-0 up after a defensive mix-up allowed Adamson to gather a loose ball close to the left-hand corner flag and flop over the line for his second try of the afternoon.
Stung into action, Selkirk then enjoyed their best spell thanks to some penetrating breaks by Ian Oosthuizen, Mikey Davies and Darren Clapperton, but Falkirk’s defence held firm. A Brims penalty on the half-hour mark put the visitors 17-0 ahead, and this was how things stood at halftime.
A scything run by Selkirk danger man Tythan Adams early in the second half lifted home supporters’ hopes, and prop Bonekele Siyothula came close to scoring following a quickly taken tap penalty by Mikey Davies and another surging run from Oosthuizen.
Falkirk weathered the storm, and the point of no return for Selkirk came in the 65th minute when the visitors’ dominance at the scrum resulted in a penalty try, as well as a yellow card for a clearly mystified Donald Nichol.
A try five minutes from time by Gary Dempsey secured Falkirk’s bonus point win, with Selkirk finally crossing their opponents’ line in the last play of the match – Callum McEwan scoring the try, with Ciaran Whyte adding the conversion.
The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to Josh Mackay.
SELKIRK - J. Welsh, T. Adams, D. Clapperton, R. Nixon, F. Anderson, G. Craig, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Mackay, C. Graur, A. Renwick, P. Forrest, I. Oosthuizen, D. Nichol , E. MacDougall. Replacements: M. Robertson, B. Siyothula, R. Cook, C. Whyte, C. McEwan.
FALKIRK – C. Robertson, G. Dempsey, A. Rennie, A. Hamilton, J. Adamson, L. Brims, H. Russell, K. Burney, A. Gillespie, K. Slade, D. Stoddart, C. Hamilton, G. Brodie, A. Inwood, J. Eaglesham. Replacements: J. McKenna, L. Skinner, A. McNab, K. Rowe, G. Faulds.

Referee – Keith Allen (Liberton).