Selkirk RFC 28, Aberdeen Grammar Rugby 26

Photos Grant Kinghorn Pics.

Having already dispatched Jed and Kelso, Aberdeen Grammar travelled to Philphaugh on Saturday with high hopes of making it 3 wins out of 3 against borders opponents. Sitting 3rd in the Tennentís national 1 table and with 6 returning first team players, expectations in the Granite City would have been high.

Selkirk - who were missing Josh Welsh at full back, who was ably replaced by Rory Hamilton, with Rory Banks slotting in at 14 - had different ideas and sent the visitors on their long, long homeward journey tae think again.

Yet, it had all started so well for the visitors, who used the strong following wind to gain early territorial advantage, which they converted into 7 points after just eight minutes when stand-off Knudson crossed over under the post for a try converted by Aplin.

Selkirkís response was immediate with Anderson narrowly missed out on a clever through kick. The home team were competing well in the line-out and stole their second of the day to allow Andy Mackay to cross over for a try, with Rory Banks slotting over the touchline conversion to level the scores at 7-7.

The Souters continued to compete up front and were awarded a series of penalties, which they failed to take advantage of. Aberdeen stole possession to run in their second try from the half way line with Jollands finishing off Knudsonís break. The missed conversion took the scoreboard to 7-12, which is where it remained until the half time whistle.

Selkirk had every reason for optimism at the break, being only 5 points behind and facing the pavilion end with a strong wind at their backs. But it was the visitors who started the second half strongest.

Some untidy scrums led to Aberdeen being awarded a penalty, taken quickly and leading to a Ciaran Wood converted try to increase the visitorís lead to 7-19.

Things looked decidedly ominous for the Souters on the 50th minute when Aberdeenís Nat Coe crossed the line again for their bonus point try, the extras being added by Aplin. 7-26 down going into the last 20 minutes of the game and even the most ardent Selkirk fan would be forgiven for expressing their doubts if the boys could find a way back into the match.

The Selkirk players on the other hand had other ideas and also had the self-belief to do just that, with Ross Nixon crashing over for a try converted again by the consistent boot of Rory Banks to close the gap to 14-26.

A missed kick by the visitors resulted in the type touch line clearance that breaks the spirit of the opposition, with the ball bouncing into touch right on the Aberdeen 22. Grammar won the line out only to be penalised for crossing and on the 63rd minute Jock Renwick crashed over from the resulting line out to score, with Banks again adding the extras. 21-26 and game on!

Aberdeen must have known that it wasnít going to be their day when Aplin missed a kick at goal from the 22 following a Selkirk infringement just after Russell had been brought down by a try saving tackle from Aaron McColm, which unfortunately came at a cost when the brave young stand-off had to leave the field looking a wee bit groggy. That tackle and what followed afterwards may just have put down a marker for the rest of Selkirkís season.

If Aberdeenís heads were down, Selkirkís tails were up and the home team had only one outcome in mind. Forward pressure paid off with Aberdeen giving away a penalty for not rolling away, the resulting kick leading to a 5m line out. Renwick saw a gap on the blind side and passed to Sean Nixon who went over in the corner to level the points at 26-26. With precious little time left on the clock, up stepped man of the match Rory Banks to calmly slot the conversion Ė as cool as you like and of course the win was never in doubt!

JH

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