OUT-OF-SORTS SELKIRK FIND GOING TOUGH AGAINST NEVER-SAY-DIE FIFERS

Selkirk lock forward Jordan McGowan off-loads the ball to team-mate Frazer Anderson in Saturday’s BT National League 1 fixture against Howe of Fife at Philiphaugh.


Howe of Fife scrum-half Andrew Harley can only watch as centre Scott Hendrie scores the first of his two tries for Selkirk in Saturday’s game.

Saturday’s official mascots were Selkirk Rhinos’ P3 players Gregor Borthwick (left) and Thomas Tait, both of whom attend Knowepark Primary School.

[Photos: GRANT KINGHORN PICS]

SELKIRK 36, HOWE OF FIFE 31

IF a week is a long time in politics, then two months in rugby can seem like an eternity. In a cup tie at the start of the season, Selkirk ran in 11 tries and posted a 47-point winning margin against Howe of Fife. Nine weeks later against the same opponents, Selkirk trailed the Fifers until the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s match, securing victory thanks to late tries by Scott Hendrie and Scott McDonald.
It didn’t help the Souters’ cause that the club’s recent injury jinx shows no signs of abating. Centre Craig MacDougall was laid low by a ‘flu virus on the morning of the game, while winger Rory Banks twisted his ankle in the pre-match warm-up and could take no part in proceedings.
This late double blow resulted in senior call-ups for Frazer Anderson and Gavin Ross, both of whom had been listed to play for Selkirk’s ‘A’ XV in a reserve league game against Aberdeenshire 2nds on the Philiphaugh back pitch.
“It wasn’t ideal having to make these late changes,” Selkirk skipper Ross Nixon told the selkirkrfc.com web site after the final whistle, “and this was the fourth match in a row we’ve had to field a different centre combination.
“All credit to Howe of Fife though, who battled hard and kept us under pressure throughout the game. They might be propping up the table, but today’s match shows just how competitive our league is this season.
“I thought we played all right in phases, but the boys know they have to keep their concentration and stay switched on for 80 minutes. Next week’s game against Jed is going to be a tough assignment, a real Border derby, so we won’t be able to afford any lapses.”
One of Selkirk’s stand-out players on the day was the club’s utility threequarter Frazer Anderson. Having been drafted into the team at the last minute, the youngster hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon, making a couple of try-saving tackles as well as scoring one of the home team’s six tries.
Equally prominent was the Souters’ player-coach Kieran Cooney, whose commitment, leadership and ability to read the game helped steer the home side through some rocky passages of play.
The match marked the 50th senior appearance of Selkirk hooker Ruairi Wilson, who came off the replacements bench after the break. The player who replaced him in the starting line-up, Peter Forrest, passed the same milestone a fortnight ago.
Selkirk’s tries were scored by Jordan McGowan, Scott Hendrie (2), Dave Allan, Frazer Anderson and Scott McDonald. Fly-half Ciaran White kicked three conversions.
Howe of Fife’s try scorers were Shaun Gray, Duncan McIntyre and Eden Cruickshank. Fly-half Dom Martin added four penalties and two conversions.
The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ Award went to Frazer Anderson.
SELKIRK - D. Clapperton, F. Anderson, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, D. Allan, C. Whyte, J. Wallace, K. Cooney, P. Forrest, M. Waldron, J. McGowan, S. Nixon E. MacDougall, M. Robertson, A. Renwick. Replacements: G. Ross, R. Wilson, C. Graur, S. McDonald, D. Nichol.
HOWE OF FIFE – S. Gray, B. Mitchell, D. McIntyre, S. Lathangie, E. Cruickshank, D. Martin, A. Harley, A. Whittle, C. Crawford, G. Henderson, N. Rees, P. Meiklem, J. Macdonald, J. Lawrie, G. Steedman.

Referee – Lewis Harrison (RFU).