JEDFOREST’S EARLY BREAKTHROUGH ENOUGH TO KEEP SELKIRK AT ARM’S LENGTH

Centre Craig MacDougall touches down the ball for his second try of the match in Saturday’s BT National League 1 fixture against Jed-Forest at Philiphaugh.

Gavin Craig was always in the thick of the action in his comeback appearance for Selkirk, here watched by team-mate Jackson Wallace.

Number eight Sean Nixon takes clean line-out ball, watched by team-mate Scott McDonald, as Selkirk get ready to clear their lines in Saturday’s game at Philiphaugh.

Selkirk mascots Noah Gilmour (left) and Freddie Robson pictured with skipper Ross Nixon before Saturday’s game. Both boys play for Selkirk Rhinos’ P3 team and attend Lilliesleaf Primary School.

Determination is written all over Josh Welsh’s face as he battles to escape the attention of two Jed opponents.

[Photos: GRANT KINGHORN PICS]

SELKIRK 34, JED-FOREST 40

SELKIRK’S propensity for leaking early points came back to haunt them at Philiphaugh on Saturday, where the Souters found themselves trailing BT National League 1 high-flyers Jed-Forest 21-3 within the first quarter of an hour. Although Ross Nixon’s men battled back to get within a score of the visitors’ total, the deficit proved too great to overcome.
“Against a side as pacy as Jed you can’t afford to give them a head start,” Selkirk assistant coach Fraser Jack told the selkirkrfc.com web site after the final whistle. “A couple of mistakes early on led to them scoring two quick tries, and from there it was always going to be hard ask to pull things back.
“It didn’t help that we were forced to make a series of positional changes in the backs after injuries to Darren Clapperton, Craig MacDougall and Jackson Wallace. It meant Scott Hendrie had to fill in at scrum-half – the sixth player this season to pull on Selkirk’s number nine jersey.
“On the plus side our players never gave up, and in the final minutes of the game were pressing very hard on the Jed try line, but it wasn’t to be.” Nevertheless Selkirk did manage to salvage two bonus points.
The visiting threequarters’ ability to launch counter-attacks from any area of the pitch was illustrated within minutes of the kick-off, when a Selkirk mistake allowed Jed to win back possession. After the ball was spun through several pairs of hands, Lewis Young burst clear to score under the posts.
A try by Lewis’ twin brother Gregor, and one by scrum-half Sean Goodfellow, stretched the visitors’ lead, with Selkirk’s only reply coming from a Josh Welsh penalty.
Craig MacDougall marked his return to the home side with a first half try, but it proved something of a bitter-sweet experience - the strong-running centre dislocating a finger in the act of scoring. True to character he returned to the fray soon afterwards, having had the finger re-set and strapped, and crossed for a second try later in the contest.
Given the intensity of the exchanges, it perhaps wasn’t surprising four yellow cards were issued during the contest. Jed’s Monty Mitchell earned his for a high tackle on Ciaran Whyte, Selkirk lock Jordan McGowan for not using arms in the tackle, while Scott Hendrie and Jamie Hynd both ended up in the sin bin after a free-for-all on the stand touchline.
The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Selkirk replacement Gavin Craig. Out of senior rugby since February, 2014, with a serious knee injury, the Scotland Club XV international showed he’d lost none of his attacking ability and distribution skills with a typically confident display which kept Selkirk in the hunt right to the end.
Up front, impressive performances for Selkirk came from Michael Waldron, Scott McDonald, Sean Nixon and Ewan MacDougall (later named the Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’), while scrum-half Jackson Wallace put in a solid shift before being sidelined by an ankle strain.
Selkirk’s points came from tries by Scott Hendrie, Craig MacDougall (2), Matt Robertson and Cata Graur, with Josh Welsh kicking a penalty and three conversions.
Jed’s try scorers were Lewis Young, Gregor Young, Sean Goodfellow (3) and Connor Hogg, while conversions were kicked by Robbie Yourston (4) and Callum Young.
SELKIRK - D. Clapperton, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, C. MacDougall, J. Welsh, C. Whyte, J. Wallace, K. Cooney, P. Forrest, M. Waldron, J. McGowan, S. McDonald, E. MacDougall, M. Robertson, S. Nixon. Replacements: R. Wilson, C. Graur, D. Nichol. G. Craig, F. Anderson.
JED-FOREST – L. Young, C. Young, G. Young, M. Mitchell, R. Shirra-Gibb, R. Yourston, S. Goodfellow, R. Gibson, C. Hogg, P. Fererria, C. Skeldon, J. Hynd, G. Law, G. Robson, J. Sudlow. Replacements: G. Paxton, J. Barrie, D. Wardrop, G. Anderson, R. Marshall.

Referee – Ian Kenny (Aberdeen).