MAROONS TAKE THE HONOURS AS NEW SEASON GETS UNDER WAY AT PHILIPHAUGH

Selkirk scrum-half Scott Tough finds himself the centre of attention in Saturday’s game against Gala at Philiphaugh. Ready to lend a hand are team-mates Ewan MacDougall, Andrew Renwick and Darren Clapperton.

Selkirk’s two try scorers in Saturday’s match were Scott Hendrie (left) and Darren Clapperton, the latter player bagging a brace of touchdowns.


Head coach Graham Marshall, along with assistant coaches Fraser Jack and Michael Jaffray, hold a de-briefing session with Selkirk’s players after the final whistle. [Photos: JOHN SMAIL]

SELKIRK 19, GALA 34

A THREE-TRY burst by Gala at the start of the second half was enough to secure victory for the visitors in Saturday’s Booker Border League match at Philiphaugh. Up to that point Selkirk had twice regained the lead from the Maroons in a game fiercely contested throughout.
“Despite the scoreline I thought we competed well,” Selkirk head coach Graham Marshall told the selkirkrfc.com web site after the final whistle. “Our defence in the first half was excellent, but we didn’t do a great deal with the ball when we got it.
“After the break we managed to get more possession, carried the ball better and adopted a more dynamic approach. The game was an ideal opportunity to try out players in different positions and formations, and I couldn’t fault the enthusiasm shown by all the players in our squad.”
Playing against the wind, Gala made the more convincing start, aided by a string of penalties awarded against Selkirk. Opting to kick for touch rather than take a pot at goal, the Maroons laid siege to the home try line for fully eight minutes but couldn’t manage to find a chink in the Souters’ defensive armour.
Nobody showed more determination in this regard than Selkirk openside Matt Robertson, one of the home side’s real successes of the day. A tremendous turnover by him in the 10th minute of the match allowed Ross Nixon to clear the danger when it looked certain the Netherdale men would cross for a try.
Selkirk’s best scoring chance in the early exchanges came when prop Lwando Mabenge took a quick tap penalty on Gala’s 22 and was hauled down under the shadow of the posts. To compound matters Gala managed to secure a turnover and scrum-half George Lott raced upfield on the counter, with Andrew Renwick ultimately pulling off a try-saving tackle to save the day.
Gala took the lead in the 17th minute from a penalty by Gregor Hunter, but Selkirk hit back on the half-hour mark. A breenge by Renwick was carried on by Jordan McGowan, with newcomer Ciaran Whyte up in support to high-step his way out of a Gala defender’s clutches and give an inside scoring pass to Darren Clapperton. Josh Welsh converted from wide out to put the home side 7-3 ahead.
Yellow cards were shown shortly afterwards to Gala’s Paul Hendry and then Selkirk replacement Frazer Anderson (who took the field while Scott Hendrie was off having three stitches inserted in a head gash). Right on the halftime whistle Rob Louw put the Maroons 8-7 in front with a try following a concerted line-out drive.
Selkirk got off to a flying start after the break. A clean line-out take by Sean Nixon saw Scott Tough feed out to Ross Nixon, whose pop-up pass allowed a flying Darren Clapperton to turn on the after-burners and slice straight through the visitors’ defence for a superb try under the posts. Welsh’s conversion put Selkirk 14-8 ahead.
This setback acted as a spur to Gala, whose backs combined deftly to notch three quick-fire tries in the space of just six minutes through Craig Robertson, Lott and Dwayne Burrows, all converted by Gregor Hunter, putting the Maroons in the driving seat at 29-14.
Although Selkirk managed a third score through Scott Hendrie, whose 50-metre break was rewarded moments later by a try in the right-hand corner, it was Gala who had the final word when Fraser Hunter crossed for the visitors’ fifth try.
The game was brought to an early conclusion by the referee after Gala’s Dwayne Burrows was knocked out when attempting to tackle Selkirk lock Jordan McGowan. Thankfully the player was eventually able to walk from the pitch.
A special mention goes to the three players making their debuts for Selkirk on Saturday – Ciaran Whyte, Rory Smith and Connor McAulay – while it was also good to see Michael Waldron back in a 1st XV jersey.

SELKIRK – D. Clapperton, S. Hendrie, C. Whyte, C. MacDougall, J. Welsh, R. Nixon, S. Tough, L. Mabenge, C. McAulay, C. Graur, J. McGowan, M. Gordon, E. MacDougall, M. Robertson, A. Renwick. Replacements: R. Purves, M. Waldron, S. Nixon, K. Cooney, P. Forrest, R. Smith, D. Swinbanks, L. MacLennan.

GALA – G. Spiers, P. Hendry, D. Burrows, R. Jeffrey, C. Robertson, G. Hunter, G. Lott, L. Pettie, M. Carryer, C. Keen, C. Weir, R. Louw, A. Emond, L. Scott, S. Cairns. Replacements: G. Robertson, D. Brooker, B. Reavely, R. Todd, C. Pate, S. Chapman, A. Turner, L. Johnston, R. Howarth, F. Hunter, C. Dods, D. Nicholson.

Referee – Steven Turnbull (Scottish Rugby).