Josh Welsh (left) and Darren Clapperton proved a potent strike force for Selkirk against Howe of Fife at Philiphaugh on Saturday – Josh scoring a hat-trick of tries and Darren bagging four touchdowns.

Selkirk prop Cata Graur goes on the charge, supported by (from left) Matt Robertson, Ruairi Wilson and Max Gordon.

Number eight Andrew Renwick makes a break from the back of a scrum to set up another attack, with Sean Nixon (No. 18) and Ewan MacDougall ready to give support. [Photos: GRANT KINGHORN PICS]


DESPITE a shaky start, Selkirk found their feet and dominated Saturday’s BT Scottish Cup first round tie against Howe of Fife in gloriously sunny conditions at Philiphaugh, writes GREGOR NICHOL. Howe took the lead with a penalty by stand-off Cameron Ellison after three minutes, before Selkirk suffered a setback when young scrum-half Aaron McColm was forced off the field with a head-knock.
A try and conversion by Josh Welsh put the home side ahead, but the visitors regained the lead when pacy full-back Shawn Gray crossed for a converted try, followed by a second Ellison penalty bringing the score to 7-13.
The Souters hit back with a second try for Welsh, who again converted. Flanker Matt Robertson quickly followed this up with a try of his own, after Welsh had made the initial break. The successful conversion put Selkirk 21-13 ahead.
Selkirk number eight Andrew Renwick was proving an influential figure, his impressive carries gaining valuable yards for the home side. Two tries before half-time - by Robertson and winger Scott Hendrie - saw the Souters go into the interval with a healthy 31-13 lead.
The home team didn't lose any momentum after the break, tries coming from full-back Darren Clapperton and replacement scrum-half Callum McEwan. Max Gordon then powered down the middle of the pitch before off-loading to McEwan, who finished it off in style, Welsh adding the conversion. This increased Selkirk’s lead to 43-13.
Clapperton then crossed the whitewash for his second try, and this was followed by a magnificent team touchdown, beginning at Selkirk’s own 22, with the forwards showing great hands to take play into the opposing 22. The attack culminated in a Fiji-esque off-load to Clapperton, who used his pace to leave the defenders for dead to complete his hat-trick.
With Selkirk’s players now running riot, further tries followed for Lewis MacLennan and Welsh (completing his hat-trick). Welsh added six conversions, bringing his personal points haul to 27. Howe scored a consolation try through Gray, converted by Ellison.
Special mentions go to Selkirk replacement forward Sean Nixon, who made a big impact off the bench with some crunching tackles and forceful rucking, and to hooker Ruairi Wilson, who has returned to Philiphaugh after a six-month spell in New Zealand, where he turned out for Christchurch-based club Burnside.
SELKIRK - D. Clapperton, S. Hendrie, L. MacLennan, C. MacDougall, J. Welsh, R. Nixon, A. McColm, L. Mabenge, R. Wilson, C. Graur, J. McGowan, M. Gordon, E. MacDougall, M. Robertson, A. Renwick. Replacements: P. Forrest, K. Cooney, S. Nixon, C. Whyte, C. McEwan.
HOWE OF FIFE - S. Gray, C. Mann, R. Douglas, A. Guthrie, E. Cruickshank, C. Ellison, A. Harley, C. Crawford, M. Sinclair, G. Steedman, B. Runciman, N. Ross, J. McDonald, J. Lawrie, A. Steven. Replacements: L. Wilson, J. Acheson, A. Wilson, C. Patrick.

Referee - David Sutherland (Scottish Rugby).