put Selkirk into a tail-spin
THE 2003 Leuchars Air Show was being staged at the
local RAF base on Saturday, but the most spectacular high-fliers of the afternoon were to be found at the nearby
Mayfield rugby ground, where Dundee High Schoolís title aspirations took wing following a crushing seven-try victory
Up against a physically stronger home eight, supported by an equally powerful and polished threequarter line, injury-hit
Selkirk had their backs against the wall from the very start. And to make matters worse, two of the visitorsí most
influential players took knocks during the match which required them to leave the field. The first came in the
37th minute, when left wing Fraser Harkness landed awkwardly on his elbow after being tackled into touch. It was
feared the Scotland under-21 squad member had a broken arm, but a visit to Ninewells Hospital identified the problem
as a trapped nerve.
Other casualties included openside flanker Matt de Franck, who sustained a suspected nose fracture as early as
the second minute following a
collision with team-mate Neil Brown. The Aussie wing forward stayed on to complete the match, proving one of Selkirkís
best performers on the
Late in the contest fly-half Guy Blair was led from the field after aggravating the hand injury which sidelined
him at the end of last season, while to compound matters influential Selkirk lock Dwayne Jackson had to retire
to the bench after picking up a shoulder injury.
It took Dundee ó playing with a stiff breeze at their backs ó just four minutes to flex their collective muscle,
when a strike against the head was followed by some neat interplay amongst the threequarters, culminating in centre
Ross Lemmon stretching over the line for his sideís first try. The conversion was thumped over by stand-off Callum
Rankin (son of Dundee coach Ian), and three minutes later the same player added a penalty to put the Mayfield men
Selkirkís fortunes took another turn for the worse in the 17th minute, when lock Marcus Barnett was sin-binned
for a late challenge on Dundee
wing Andy Kennedy. During this period Lemmon scored his second try, after taking a crash ball and battering past
two Selkirk defenders. Rankinís conversion made it 17-0.
With the visiting pack under so much pressure, Selkirkís error count began to rise dramatically, with the result
that most of the Philiphaugh menís handling phases were conducted behind the gain line. Even so, the voluble Mayfield
crowd was silenced in the 22nd minute, when Selkirk prop Iain Purves latched on to a deflected line-out ball to
race 25 metres down the touchline for a spectacular solo try in the corner. Blairís conversion defied the strong
wind to sail over.
Dundee cleverly switched direction at the restart, but a saving tackle by Neil Brown ó who also coped admirably
under the high ball ó led to a driving run by Dwayne Jackson. Unfortunately it was at this point that Fraser Harkness
picked up his injury, with replacement Michael McVie taking his place.
Just before the interval Selkirkís first-time tackling was found wanting, allowing Lemmon to coast through to seal
his hat-trick of tries. Rankinís conversion made it 22-7 at the break.
In the opening minutes of the second half Dundee put the game firmly beyond Selkirkís reach with a textbook touchdown.
A scrum pick-up by
burly number eight Alan Brown was switched inside to scrum-half Shannon Wilson, whose try was predictably converted
by Rankin. Wilson then stunned the visitors with a brilliant solo try straight from the restart.
Although Blair managed to grab Selkirkís second try after Rankinís clearing kick had been charged down behind his
own line by de Franck, Wilsonís third try and another in the final minute by Dougie Gray set the seal on a ruthlessly
efficient win for the home side.
The last time Selkirk conceded 50 points was in the 54-10 defeat by Kelso at Poynder Park in December, 1999. A
huge effort will be required by the players and coaches on the training pitch this week, so as to get the club
back on track for Saturdayís away match against Kirkcaldy.
HARD GOING. Prop Martin
Murray tries to keep up the momentum as Selkirkís pack find themselves under phenomenal pressure at Mayfield.
LINE MANAGEMENT. Selkirk
replacement Michael McVie passes to skipper Scott Tomlinson as the Philiphaugh men are put through the mill at
Mayfield on Saturday.
SELKIRK ó D. Cassidy, F. Harkness (rep. M. McVie 37 mins), A. Lyall, M. Jaffray, N. Brown, G. Blair, S. Tomlinson,
I. Purves (rep. S. Renwick 65 mins), E. Robbie (I. Walling 70 mins), M. Murray, M. Barnett, D. Jackson (rep. D.
Lithgow 70 mins), M. de Franck, N. Darling , A.
Referee ó Andrew Hepburn (Lenzie).