FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE BY SELKIRK PLAYERS PUTS CLUB INTO THE PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFFS

Vice-captain Luke Pettie crosses the whitewash for Selkirk’s first try at Raeburn Place.

There’s no stopping Henry Bithray as he dives over in the corner for Selkirk’s third try.

Hooker James Bett finds his path blocked, but has team-mate Peter Forrest up in support.

Sean Rankin makes the hard yards for Selkirk, despite the best efforts of Accies’ defenders.

Selkirk flanker Andy Mackay looks to cross the gain line, with Aaron McColm ready to help.

Aaron McColm nails a conversion into the strong wind, with a little help from Ross Nixon.
[Photos by GRANT KINGHORN PICS]

Edinburgh Accies 20, Selkirk 33

BEFORE the season started, Selkirk’s players got together to discuss targets for the season. The first of these was to qualify for the Tennent’s Premiership play-offs.
This goal was achieved in fine style at Raeburn Place on Saturday, where an impressively confident display saw the Philiphaugh side book a place in the post-season play-offs with a game to spare.
No-one was happier with Saturday’s victory than Selkirk head coach Scott Wight. “I’d say that was our best collective performance of the season,” he commented after the match. “From numbers one to 20, everyone played their part.
“We had a big focus on defence at training through the week, and I was particularly pleased by the way our pack was able to give the backs such a solid platform to work from.
“I thought the forwards were abrasive in the carry and protected ball really well. Our scrummaging was also solid, while our pick-and-go drives always made plenty of ground.”
Wight pointed out that reaching the play-offs wasn’t solely down to the first team squad. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the input and commitment of the club’s entire playing squad.
“All the boys at the club have bought into our training programme throughout the year, so it’s only proper that both 1st XV and ‘A’ XV squads are given credit.”
Selkirk skipper Ewan MacDougall won the toss and elected to play with the gusting wind at his players’ backs – the right decision given the visitors’ dominance in the first half.
With lock Sean Rankin again to the fore, Selkirk’s forwards showed patience and good technique to go through the phases and keep Accies pinned in their own half for long periods.
The upshot was a brace of tries for prop Luke Pettie, one of which was converted by Aaron McColm to put the Souters 12-0 ahead at the end of the first quarter.
The home team replied with a Richard Mill penalty, but Selkirk extended their lead when full-back Henry Bithray latched on to Luca Merolle’s well-judged pass to score wide out. McColm’s conversion made the halftime score 19-3 in the visitors’ favour.
Playing against the wind in the second half, Selkirk suffered an early setback when Accies prop Cole Imrie barged over for a try, converted by Mill, to reduce the deficit to nine points.
This drew an immediate response from the visitors, who regained the initiative thanks to Ewan MacDougall’s pushover try and another try by lock Peter Forrest soon afterwards. McColm’s conversions put Selkirk out of sight at 33-10.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, Selkirk brought on all five of their replacements, with Accies taking advantage of the visitors’ recast line-up to add tries by Robert Wilson and Marty Cairns.
EDINBURGH ACCIES – M. Cairnes, R. Wilson, R. Campbell, R. Mill, C. Ramm; R. Bonner, M. Love, C. Imrie, S. Crombie, C. Lacour, A. Inwood, C. Bain, C. Thomson, J. Sole, J. Bruce. Replacements: C. Black, D. Anderson, R. McConnell, M. Sinclair, W. Stephen. 
SELKIRK – H. Bithray, C. McNeill, R. Cottrell, R. Nixon, J. Welsh, A. McColm, L. Merolle, L. Pettie, J. Bett, B. Riddell, P. Forrest, S. Rankin, A. Mackay, S. McClymont, E. MacDougall. Replacements: J. Mackay, A. McColm, F. Anderson, C. Anderson, L. Berte.
Referee - Michael Todd (SRU).

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