East Kilbride 0, Selkirk 3

Selkirk break new ground with win at East Kilbride

CRITICS of the SRU’s Combined Tournament, who maintain the new competition is meaningless, should have been at Torrance House on Sunday.
In horrendous conditions — driving rain, a pudding of a pitch plus a gale-force, cross-field wind — both teams played as if their lives depended on it. In the end Selkirk just managed to edge home thanks to some rock-solid defending, allied to the visiting pack’s refusal to take a step backwards in the gritty forward exchanges.

HIGH-FLIER. Lock Marcus Barnett makes a two-handed line-out catch in

Selkirk’s hard-won Combined Tournament victory at East Kilbride on Sunday.

In addition to notching their second victory of the tournament, the Selkirk players deserve credit for becoming the first Philiphaugh side to record a win at the East Kilbride ground, while Sunday’s triumph also represented the team’s first away victory of this season.
Given the whole-hearted commitment shown by the entire Selkirk team, it is perhaps wrong to single out players for special mention. However, such was the influence on the game of lock Dwayne Jackson and blind-side flanker Matt de Franck — both of whose work rate and ball retention was never less than exemplary — that the Kiwi and Aussie emerged as the contest’s key performers.
Hooker Darren Hoggan was another who came through the match with flying colours, winning a handful of strikes against the head and taking the game to the opposition through a series of spirited drives upfield.
Meanwhile teenage scrum-half Michael McVie grew in confidence as the game progressed, and dovetailed neatly with half-back partner Guy Blair. Replacement David Reeve made his 1st XV debut for Selkirk in the second half, after centre Scott Tomlinson retired with a groin strain, and despite some early nerves showed up well in in the hazardous conditions.
The match kicked off in a virtual monsoon, but Selkirk’s handling proved secure. An enormous 22 drop-out kick by Scott Tomlinson took play deep into East Kilbride territory, then a burst down the left flank by Craig Hunter, well supported by Matt de Franck, put the home side on the back foot.
Shortly after this passage of play Hoggan won a strike against the head, and at the next breakdown East Kilbride’s number eight was penalised for being off-side. Guy Blair stepped up to take the kick at goal, and judged the gusting wind to perfection to put the visitors’ first points on the board.
The Selkirk fly-half was short with a second attempt after 32 minutes, and the interval arrived with the visitors pressing hard on the East Kilbride try line.
After the break it was the home team who started to win the lion’s share of possession, and apart from one brief attacking flurry from Selkirk — McVie’s neat grubber kick almost allowing Neil Brown to go in at the corner — the visitors found themselves pinned in their own 22 for virtually the whole of the second period.
Selkirk’s superior scrummaging kept East Kilbride at bay as the city men pressed hard for a try, and just when it looked as though the Glasgow team would exploit an overlap on the left touchline to score in the dying seconds of the game, up popped Selkirk wing-forward Matt de Franck to intercept the final pass and clear the danger.

The final whistle sounded immediately afterwards, leaving the Selkirk players exhausted but elated by their historic win.

A JOB WELL DONE. Selkirk back row team-mates Alister Heatlie and

Billy Gentleman lead the players off the field following Sunday’s win against East Kilbride at Torrance House.

SELKIRK : B. Armstrong, N. Brown, C. Cochrane, S. Tomlinson (rep. D. Reeve), C. Hunter, G. Blair, M. McVie, J. McDonald, D. Hoggan, G. Ruthven, M. Barnett, D. Jackson, W. Gentleman, A. Stevenson (rep. A. Heatlie), M. de Franck.

Referee: D. McNair (Glasgow Hawks).

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