FIRED-UP PEEBLES PUSH SELKIRK ALL THE WAY, BEFORE SOUTERS SECURE BONUS POINT WIN

Selkirk scrum-half Scott Clark feeds his threequarters to set up another attack at The Gytes.

Back row player Andy Mackay reaches for the sky to secure line-out possession for Selkirk.

Try scorer Peter Forrest goes it alone as Peebles defenders arrive en masse to bar his way.

My ball! Selkirk full-back Henry Bithray makes sure he hangs on to hard-won possession.

Ryan Cottrell holds off the attentions of Peebles wing James Dow at The Gytes on Saturday.

[Photos by GRANT KINGHORN PICS]

Peebles 22, Selkirk 30

PEEBLES welcomed Selkirk to The Gytes on Saturday as the club’s first-footers of 2020. The visitors may not have brought along a lump of coal or some black bun, as is tradition, but the Philiphaugh men were left in doubt about the Peebles players’ New Year resolution: ‘Never give up, never surrender!’
With both teams showing numerous changes from their normal match day line-ups, it was the home side who showed the greater control and aggression in a bruising opening half, with Peebles taking a deserved 17-5 halftime lead.
After 13 minutes, turnover ball allowed Donald Anderson to dummy his way past Selkirk’s midfield defence for Peebles’ opening try, and the home side maintained their shape even when down to 14 men following Patrick Harrison’s yellow card for a high tackle on visiting skipper Callum Anderson.
Richie Reed added a second touchdown for Peebles following sustained pressure on the visitors’ try line, before Selkirk’s outstanding player of the day - lock forward Sean Rankin - cut the deficit to 10-5 when he barrelled his way over for a try thanks to a great counter-attack launched by Callum McNeill and Callum Anderson.
Back came Peebles with a well-executed try on the stroke of half-time, through David Collins, on the back of skipper Greg Raeburn’s clever inside break, with Raeburn adding the conversion for a 17-5 interval lead.
A lively pep talk during the break by head coach Scott Wight, followed by a raft of substitutions, led to a rise in confidence and energy levels in the visitors’ play - a 47th minute penalty by Scott Clark calming Selkirk supporters’ nerves.
A well-taken try by Peter Forrest, plus a penalty and conversion from the boot of Callum Anderson, put Selkirk ahead for the first time in the contest at 18-17.
Despite Selkirk vice-captain Luke Pettie being shown a yellow card by referee Michael Todd for alleged dangerous play taking ball into contact, the visitors maintained their momentum with a try by Callum McNeill, who capitalised on Henry Bithray’s siege-gun line kick.
Another monster punt by Bithray soon afterwards rang alarm bells once more in the home defence. Callum Anderson’s delicate chip-kick was collected on the bounce by James Bett, whose off-load found Andrew McColm racing up in support to claim the visitors’ bonus point try.
To their credit, the Peebles players refused to throw in the towel, and were rewarded for their persistence by an injury time try from replacement Scott Stoddart, securing a well-deserved bonus point.
“Today was a good opportunity to see exactly where we are as a club,” Selkirk head coach Scott Wight told the selkirkrfc.com website after the final whistle. “A lot of the players we used today have been down training every week, and in my opinion deserve a chance to show what they can offer.
“In the first half we perhaps showed a lack of structure, largely because of the new players not being involved with the 1st XV squad each weekend. However, I think the boys we brought in stood up and played quite well, although to be fair I think the bench has probably made the difference at the end of the day.
“Full credit to Peebles for being so strong around the contact area, and for proving so hard to break down. Getting this fixture after the holiday break has been hugely helpful as we build towards Saturday’s fixture at Jed, so today’s game will hopefully pay dividends for both sides.”

PEEBLES – j. Matthews, N. Pate, M. Brown, D. Anderson, J. Dow, G. Raeburn, D. Collins, N. Hogarth, P. Harrison, J. Menzies, R. Reed, L. Brinck, M. Anderson, S. Lawson, K. Brown. Replacements: M. Munro, J. Gray, H. Bell, F. Collins, R. Harrison, R. Clinch, S. Stoddart, R. Gunie.

SELKIRK – R Cottrell, F. Anderson, C. McNeill, L. Berte, N. Armstrong, C. Anderson, S. Clark, M. Haldane, M. Francis, G. Forrest, S. Rankin, P. Forrest A. Mackay, L. Cassidy, H. Borthwick. Replacements: J. Bett, B Riddell, L. Pettie, E. MacDougall, A. McColm. H. Bithray, L. Merolle, R. Hamilton.

Referee: Michael Todd (SRU).

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