Cook’s cruaders win first battle
THIS was the first fixture played by Selkirk’s
third string team in five seasons, and it was a match well worth waiting for. Despite fears about player shortages,
the Souters came through their first Border District League test with flying colours, and the free-flowing rugby
on show was
a credit to both teams. In fact Gala YM had been hit by a number of call-offs — former Selkirk player Lawrence
McPherson being one of the YM players drafted into the Gala 2nds team — and as a result the visitors were forced
to field their coach, ex-internationalist Derek Turnbull — and as the match wore on, ‘Sticks’ began to regret his
decision to eat two cheeseburgers on the way to the game... Saturday’s fixture took place at The Haugh, with both
sets of players expressing admiration for Selkirk Youth Club’s new pavilion. And with the sun beating down for
the whole of the 80 minutes, the stage was set for a memorable encounter. It was the YM who took the lead thanks
to a long-range penalty from the boot of their tall fly-half McMenemy, but Selkirk quickly regrouped and scored
a well worked try. Line-out ball was won deep in YM territory, and from the rolling maul fly-half Tim Cove sent
out a ‘crash one’ ball. Bruce Armstrong neatly off-loaded to skipper David Anderson, and the full-back surged over
for the touchdown. Euan Hastie’s conversion kick just drifted the wrong side of the post. Some stout defensive
work kept YM at bay, although Selkirk didn’t help their own cause by giving away a string of penalties. Even so,
just before halftime Selkirk increased their lead. Gala were awarded a scrum close to their own tryline, but this
was wheeled by a concerted effort from the home pack, and in the confusion scrum-half Davy Reeve was able to pounce
on the loose ball for another Selkirk try. Just before the interval McMenemy — son of ex-Gala footballer and cricketer
Jim — kicked another penalty to make the halftime score 10-6 in Selkirk’s favour. The second period started badly
for the home team, with McMenemy slotting his third penalty goal. The game’s turning point came immediately afterwards,
however, when Selkirk put together the best move of the match. Straight from the restart kick the ball was won
by Selkirk’s forwards, and flanker Craig Forster (on as a replacement for Dave Lithgow) broke clear down the swimming
pool touchline. He found Reeve up in support, and after gliding past two defenders the gutsy scrum-half found prop
Grant Kinghorn at his elbow, and the Royal Burgh Standard Bearer powered over in the corner for a glorious try.
Although a fourth McMenemy penalty kept the visitors in touch, Selkirk closed ranks to prevent any further scoring,
so setting the seal on a
fine win... and doing justice to team manager Rob Cook’s heroic, month-long efforts in pulling together the team.
It is to be hoped that Selkirk’s players will now respond to Rob’s hard work by coming down to training on Thursday
nights, and building on this impressive start to their campaign.
Selkirk A’s players remain focused
during the halftime team talk. From
left - Lindsay Carrick, Mike Lemmon, Tim Cove and Grant Ruthven. David
Johnston is wearing the No. 19 jersey.
SELKIRK — D. Anderson, G. Guthrie, B. Armstrong,
E. Hastie, I. Cheyne,
T. Cove, D. Reeve, G. Kinghorn, M. Lemmon, H. McDonald, L. Carrick, G.
Jeffrey, D. Lithgow, D. Johnston, A. Bell. Replacements used — F.
Torrie, G. Ruthven, M. Rodgerson.
Referee — K. Robertson (Kelso).