NEVER-SAY-DIE SELKIRK ‘A’ PLAYERS HAVE EDGE IN EPIC GOLDENACRE GAME


Celebration time for Selkirk ‘A’ players Andrew McColm, Jamie Turnbull, Mark Rutter and Robert Cook. [Photo - JOHN SMAIL]

Heriot’s Blues 2XV 29, Selkirk ‘A’ 34

ANYONE who doubts the competitiveness or value of reserve team rugby should have been at Goldenacre on Saturday, where the players of Heriot’s Blues 2nds and Selkirk ‘A’ produced a contest of exceptional quality and equally high drama.
With both sides vying for a Tennent’s Reserve League East 1 play-off spot, the commitment and determination of both teams was a given. What made Selkirk’s triumph all the more impressive, was the way Liam Cassidy’s troops still managed to find a way to win after the city men had staged a remarkable late comeback.
The pace and slick off-loading of Heriot’s talented back division kept the visitors’ defence at full stretch throughout the 80 minutes, and it was no coincidence that all five of the home tries were scored by their threequarters.
Selkirk took the lead through a 10th minute penalty by Scott Clark, before home full-back George Douglas opened his team’s account with a try wide out.
The visitors hit back with a surging run and touchdown by prop Gary Robertson, following good lead-up work by Ross Purves. Heriot’s then levelled the score thanks to a runaway try by Matthew Arnold.
Scores by Ross Purves and Harry Aynsley gave Selkirk a 20-10 halftime lead, and when Callum ‘Scrappy’ McNeill - who had an outstanding game - touched down for the visitors’ bonus point try just after the interval, Selkirk seemed on course for victory with the score standing at 27-10.
Heriot’s had other ideas, however, and reaped the reward when some fine Barbarians-style running rugby produced tries for Arnold, Douglas and Michael Hughes to put the Goldenacre men 29-27 ahead.
With the minutes ticking away, Selkirk’s backs and forwards hammered away at the home defence until finally Robert Cook found a way over the line to score the game’s decisive try – Scott Clark’s conversion setting the seal on a momentous victory.
“The boys showed a lot of character today,” Selkirk ‘A’ coach Darren Hoggan said after the match, “and did well to keep their focus after letting Heriot’s back into the game. The team’s attitude and work rate was first class, and the win sets us up for what will be another tough test up at Biggar.
* The only thing to mar Selkirk’s day was the hand injury suffered by flanker Jamie Turnbull. “It happened midway through the first half,” said Jamie, “but it didn’t feel too bad so I played on. After the game it got increasingly painful, and a visit to the BGH on Sunday showed I’d fractured my 4th metacarpal.” It means Jamie will be side-lined for up to six weeks, so all being well he should be back for the ‘A’ XV’s Borders Cup game against Hawick Force on December 28. Hang in there, Jamie!
HERIOT’S BLUES – G. Douglas, M. Arnold, M. Hughes, O. Nesbitt, D. McMaster, I. Kay, F. Murphy, O. Osuntoki, J. Sloan, H. Simpson, A. Woolfson, A. Munro, P. McKerr, B. Kilpatrick, J. Munro. Replacements: R. Walker, F. Edward, E. Adamson, S. Simmers.
SELKIRK ‘A’ – R. Hamilton, M. Rutter, C. McNeill, H. Aynsley, H. Macdonell, D. Cassidy, S. Clark, K. Thomson, R. Purves, G. Forrest, L. Cassidy, A. McColm, J. Turnbull, R. Cook, H. Borthwick. Replacements: M. Haldane, G. Robertson, M. Mackay, P. Smail, J. Hendrie.
Referee – Lawrence Tierney (Dunbar).

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