SELKIRK’S WELL-ORGANISED DEFENCE
HOLDS FAST AGAINST GUTSY G.H.A. ONSLAUGHT
Sean Rankin feels the
full force of Luke McCutcheon’s tackle in Saturday’s game at Philiphaugh.
Stand-off Aaron McColm manages to get his pass away despite the attentions of a GHA player.
Andy Mackay finds himself in heavy traffic, with Sean Rankin and Ewan MacDougall ready to help.
Selkirk full-back Henry Bithray sets out on a typically abrasive run at Philiphaugh on Saturday.
[Photos by GRANT KINGHORN PICS]
Selkirk 13, GHA 12
SELKIRK’S players finished their Tennent’s Premiership
regular season campaign on a winning note, following a narrow, hard-fought win over a gritty GHA side at windswept
Philiphaugh on Saturday.
In contrast to the team’s impressive victory over Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place the previous weekend, this
was a far more subdued performance by Ewan MacDougall’s men.
In fact the Glasgow visitors dominated possession for almost threequarters of the 80 minutes, and had it not been
for Selkirk’s outstanding defensive work - allied to some off-target goal-kicking by GHA - the outcome could have
been very different.
Because of results elsewhere, the visitors’ losing bonus point was enough to guarantee the Braidholm club a place
in next season’s Tennent’s Premiership, so the cloud under which the GHA players left the pitch at the final whistle
turned out to have a silver lining after all.
“It was just one of those days,” Selkirk head coach Scott Wight said after the game. “The players had a massive
high last week when they cemented a top four place and played brilliantly against Accies.
“We never really turned up today and didn’t look to have a lot of shape. However, our defensive effort was through
“I thought GHA looked after ball really well. They kicked four penalties, but also missed two which would have
given them the opportunity to win the game. They put us under a lot of pressure, but our players stuck in really
well and secured the win.
“There’s still obviously plenty for us to work on as we prepare for our play-off semi-final against either Marr
or Currie on April 4th. The four weeks we have until then gives us a good chance to look at ourselves and refine
“We have to make sure all the players will be fully fit, so for the next two weeks we’ll probably switch to a sevens
focus, but then end each session with some 15s work so we can keep everybody’s minds on the play-off picture as
Playing with the wind at their backs, GHA went ahead through a Jamie MacKinnon penalty. Soon afterwards Selkirk
took the lead. A quickly taken penalty saw the ball switched left, and Aaron McColm’s floated pass to Callum McNeill
allowed the wing to run in for a try – his fourth in six games.
A second MacKinnon penalty edged the visitors back in front at 6-5, and this is the way things stood as the players
headed for the dressing rooms at halftime.
After the break a third MacKinnon penalty put the visitors 9-5 up, but on the hour-mark a GHA handling error inside
the ‘22’ allowed Selkirk’s replacement wing Frazer Anderson to hack the loose ball towards the corner flag and
score his side’s second try.
Aaron McColm and MacKinnon then exchanged penalties, leaving the contest balanced on a knife-edge. In the game’s
final stages both sides came close to scoring (through Aaron Purewal and Luca Berte), but rock-solid defending
by Selkirk and another MacKinnon penalty miss meant it was the home team who took the spoils
For Selkirk, the tackle count of forwards Sean Rankin, Peter Forrest, Bruce Riddell and James Bett must have been
off the scale, while in the threequarters Aaron McColm and Ross Nixon put in a power of work.
A special word, too, for Selkirk’s 18-year-old loose head prop Moray Haldane, who was making his first Premiership
start for the club.
The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to Aaron McColm.
SELKIRK – H. Bithray, C. McNeill, R. Cottrell, R. Nixon, J. Welsh, A. McColm, L. Merolle, M. Haldane, 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.
GHA – R. O’Keefe, J. Craig, G. Mollison, C. King, A. Purewal, J. MacKinnon, S. Simpson, E. Cavan, H. Clark,
M. Fox, A. Barnett, J. McCarthy, M. Ryan, D. Ewing, L. McCutcheon. Replacements: S. Fisher, S. Callaghan, P. Harkins,
G. Baird, J. Reilly.
Referee – Samuel O’Neil (SRU).