Selkirk 25, Kelso 15

 Photos Grant Kinghorn Pics.

A hard fought 25-15 win over border rivals Kelso saw the Souters get back to winning ways at Philiphaugh in their third outing in the Tennent’s National League Division 1.
After a mixed start to the league campaign this season with a good win against Kirkcaldy and poor loss to Hamilton today’s match was very important to get Selkirk’s season back on track and pre-match, the coaches emphasised the importance of a win over our first Borders opponents of the season, pointing out that Kelso having lost their first two leagues games would be equally keen to achieve the win that would help them start to make progress in the league.
After two good training sessions in the week leading up to the match the coaches and players were looking forward to the game.
From kick off, Selkirk started out strongly with the pack producing good scrum ball, resulting in a try in the eighth minute when Peter Forrest powered over the line to score, following a break by Aaron McColm giving the home team a 5 point lead, with the conversion being missed. Rory Banks converted the next penalty opportunity after Kelso had strayed offside, stretching Selkirk’s advantage to eight points. Kelso fought hard to get back into the game but mid way through the first half Banks intercepted a poor pass in his own 22 following a promising Kelso move and following an 80 yard dash, he scored a try under the posts which he then converted himself to extend Selkirk’s lead to 15 points.
Kelso continued to apply pressure on the Selkirk defence and narrowed the gap to just five points with two tries from Michael Downer and Derek Welsh, neither of which were converted.
A dominant Selkirk scrum resulted in Downer being yellow carded for infringement and saw Kelso go down to 14 men.
Right on half time Rory Banks again crossed the line to score his second try following a superbly weighted cross kick from Aaron McColm. The conversion was missed from a difficult angle and a very competitive first half finished 20-10 to Selkirk.
Selkirk’s dominance in the scrum continued into the second half with Kelso again penalised by the referee shortly after the break. The decision didn’t go down well with the visitors and the subsequent confrontation between the players resulted in Kelso’s Welsh being shown a red card for violent conduct.
On the 55th minute, James Bett crossed the line for Selkirk’s fourth try following a well worked line drive to secure the bonus point for the Souters.
Selkirk were unable press home the extra man advantage and the game deteriorated into something of an arm wrestling contest, which saw Selkirk’s Lewis martin joining Kelso’s Wilson in the sin bin and with both teams struggling to make the most of any possession amidst numerous mistakes.
Wilson returned from his 10 minute exile to score a 3rd try for the visitors when McColm’s clearance kick was charged down by Dryden.
Selkirk’s dominance in the scrum saw Bruce Riddell receive the Four Seasons Forestry man of the match award, which reflected his overall performance but especially in the scrum. Strong performances were also put in by Luke Pettie and Sean Nixon who held up well throughout a physically testing 80 minutes.
Our next fixture is away to Cartha where we will need to continue our winning streak to guarantee Championship rugby next season.

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