SELKIRK SUPPORTERS PUT THROUGH THE MILL AS PLAYERS JUST SQUEEZE HOME

Selkirk lock Peter Forrest finds a way past Stewart’s/Melville FP players James Ferguson and Sami Paulsson in Saturday’s BT National League 1 fixture at Philiphaugh.

Full-back Darren Clapperton manages to avoid a collision with team-mate Scott Hendrie as Stewart’s/Melville FP hooker Craig Willis bears down.

Skipper Ross Nixon pictured with Selkirk mascots Rory Tomlinson (left) and Harry Davison before Saturday’s fixture. Both youngsters attend Knowepark Primary School and both play for Selkirk Rhinos’ P3 team.

[Photos: GRANT KINGHORN PICS]

SELKIRK 19, STEWART’S/MELVILLE FP 14

BOTTOM club Stewart’s/Melville FP proved anything but a pushover in a tense, error-strewn encounter at Philiphaugh on Saturday. In the end Selkirk did just enough to get over the line, but it was a close-run thing.
“Although we found ourselves behind early on, for the remainder of the half we dominated possession and territory, scoring two good tries,” Selkirk head coach Graham Marshall told the selkirkrfc.com web site after the match.
“It looked at this stage as though the momentum was very much in our favour, and that we would kick on in the second half. However, this wasn’t to be the case and in the final quarter we began to lose our shape. As a result the error count started to go up and they took full advantage to come right back into the game.
“That said, I thought the Selkirk boys managed to hold their composure in the final minutes of the contest, just as they had done up at Aberdeen, and we were able to secure the win.”
The last time home fly-half Ciaran Whyte played in this fixture he was wearing a Stewart’s/Melville jersey, but the new Philiphaugh recruit is clearly relishing his time at Selkirk, showing bags of commitment and panache as he orchestrated a series of penetrating attacks.
Equally influential on the day was openside flanker Matt Robertson (later named Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’), whose speed to the breakdown and instinctive support play kept Colleges’ big pack at full stretch. Another home forward to shine was lock Peter Forrest, now coming into his best form of the season, having clearly benefited from his rugby-playing stint in New Zealand.
Wing Josh Welsh was also in impressive form, full of running and energy, and sprinting over for a try to take his season’s points tally to 86, having successfully added two conversion kicks.
The potency of Selkirk’s back division was underlined by the fact this was the fourth fixture in a row in which all of the Souters’ tries were scored by threequarters – scrum-half Mikey Davies and wing Scott Hendrie following Welsh over the whitewash.
The visitors’ points came from tries by Samuel Ross and Jamie Hodgson, with half-backs Jack Calder and Mark Sinclair adding the conversions.
Late in the game Lwando Mabenge picked up a yellow card for an illegal tackle, a rare blot on the South African’s copybook in what is proving a solid campaign for the prop.


SELKIRK - D. Clapperton, S. Hendrie, C. MacDougall, R. Nixon, J. Welsh, C. Whyte, M. Davies, K. Cooney, R. Wilson, L. Mabenge, P. Forrest, M. Gordon,  E. MacDougall, M. Robertson, S. Nixon. Replacements: C. MacAulay, M. Waldron, J. Houston, J. Wallace, F. Anderson.

STEWART’S/MELVILLE FP – S. Ross, S. Murchie, J. Hannay, S. Trotter, J. Ferguson, J. Calder, M. Sinclair, F. Hobbis, C. Willis, A. Wallace, A. Rappestad, J. Hodgson, D. Wood, S. Paulsson, J. Goldring. Replacements: P. Dixon, J. Grant, J. Sword, L. Scott, N. Bowie.

Referee – Dunx McClemont (SRU).