GHA 26, Selkirk 15

Report & pictures by Norman Gray

It was third against fourth when the teams kicked off with Selkirk two points to the good over GHA. The Selkirk team was unchanged from the one which triumphed over Gala the previous Tuesday. Last October’s encounter between Selkirk and GHA had been closely fought with Selkirk winning narrowly by 34 to 31. In the crowd was former Selkirk favourite Lee Jones, now of Glasgow and Scotland.
Selkirk kicked off in welcome spring-like conditions, ideal for running rugby. Both teams had come to play and the first half was fast and open. Selkirk were first to score after eight minutes when Darren Clapperton went over in the corner making it 5- nil to the visitors. GHA replied in the fifteenth minute when standoff Andrew Goudie chased his own kick through to score. Goudie converted his own try to make it 7 to 5 for GHA. The home side scored again in the twentieth minute when winger Andrew Sprowart went over after Selkirk conceded a penalty in their own 22. With Goudie converting, the score was now 14 to 5 for GHA. Selkirk came back strongly with driving runs from Anderson, Gordon and Ewan MacDougall, ending in a try for Josh Welsh.
At half-time the score was 14 to 10, two tries apiece, the difference being two missed but difficult conversions for Selkirk. Soon after half-time, Craig MacDougall replaced Aaron McColm with Ross Nixon moving to standoff. Craig MacDougall made an immediate impact in the move leading up to Selkirk’s next try scored by Luke Pettie from a thrusting move close to the GHA line. After fifty minutes Selkirk were in the lead for the first time but only by one point, 15 to 14.
GHA came back strongly threatening the Selkirk line. After an incident in the Selkirk 22 home prop Michael Scott was yellow carded. For the next ten minutes Selkirk had a man advantage but failed to capitalise. In fact it was GHA who scored with centre Lonergan crossing to make it 19 to 15 in the home sides favour. Selkirk now brought on replacements Bett, Reilly, Riddell and Ross. It was end to end stuff with the Selkirk defence performing heroics but at key moments ball retention and discipline let them down. The game could have gone either way but the crucial moment came in the seventy fifth minute when GHA prop Michael Scott crashed over for their bonus point try. This was converted by Goudie making the final score GHA 26 Selkirk 15.
Selkirk fought valiantly in both defence and attack but left empty handed. It was a typically brave Selkirk performance and the team competed to the last despite having played three league games in last eight days. Life does not get any easier with the next two games against joint leaders Jedforest ( away 7th April ) and Edinburgh Accies ( home 21st April)
Man of the Match Max Gordon
Selkirk Team Hamilton, Anderson, Clapperton, R. Nixon, Welsh, A.Mc Colm, McEwan, Pettie, Hall, Anderson, Renwick, Gordon, S. Nixon, Nichol, E. MacDougall
Replacements Bett, Riddell, Reilly, C. MacDougall, Ross.