AFTER a run of six successive defeats, Selkirk’s players rediscovered their pride and passion to register a thrilling
victory over Haddington in Saturday’s BT Premiership Division Two encounter at Philiphaugh. With both teams retreating
to the dressing at halftime to escape the blizzard conditions, this was a day when the home club’s young players
came of age in a highly entertaining match that was a credit to both sides.
Electing to play against the stiff wind, Selkirk
started strongly and took just seven minutes to put the first points on the board. Former captain Cameron Cochrane
— making his senior comeback following a three-month injury lay-off — cut inside his opposite number before neatly
slipping the ball to Denver Rumney. The Irish player-coach had picked a good running angle from his new position
on the right wing, and burst clear of the visitors’ defence from 45 metres to score his first try since coming
to Philiphaugh. Stung by this reversal, the Haddington pack began to call the shots up front, with skipper Derek
Anderson giving a fiery lead from the back row. In the space of 10 minutes two missed tackles by Selkirk allowed
Craig Adam and Donald Snodgrass to cross for tries, with young fly-half Ross McMullen adding both conversions to
put the visitors 14-5 ahead. In the meantime Selkirk had lost the services of lock Dwayne Jackson with knee ligament
damage, allowing young replacement Ryan Crockatt to take the field. The ex-Youth Club player proceeded to turn
in a storming display, forming a productive partnership with Neil Darling and Jim Ross, both of whom were always
in the thick of the action.
Eight minutes before halftime Selkirk cut the deficit when quick ruck ball saw Darling break blind and execute
an overhead pass to Alister Heatlie, and the number eight needed no second invitation to dive over for a try. Guy
Blair’s touchline conversion was an absolute peach, cutting the deficit to just two points. Unfazed by this turn
of events, second row forward Laurence Lappin scored a try for the visitors just before the break, but a well struck
penalty by Blair pegged back Haddington’s halftime lead to 19-15. Weather conditions improved in the second half,
as did Selkirk’s all-round play. However, the home side slipped further behind when a sliced clearance kick was
gratefully collected by Rhodri Thomas for the simplest of tries. Soon afterwards Cochrane had to retire to the
sidelines with a leg knock, his place being taken by the evergreen Michael Jaffray, making his 396th senior appearance
for the club.
A neat piece of opportunism by Alistair Lyall led to Selkirk’s next score. The 18-year-old centre chipped over
the head of his opposite number, then cleanly gathered the ball to run on and touch down for a superb solo try.
Blair converted, before adding a second penalty to edge his team 25-24 in front. It was left to Harkness to put
the icing on the cake with a typically flamboyant try. After breaking out from his own 22, the former Youth Club
skipper raced upfield before coolly kicking over the head of Thomas, then dribbling the ball over the line and
diving on it for a breath-taking score. Blair’s conversion sailed over, leaving the Philiphaugh faithful to celebrate
a thoroughly deserved victory.
Alistair Lyall -
fine solo try lifted Selkirk.
Fraser Harkness -
final try to seal victory.
SELKIRK — F. Harkness, D. Rumney, A. Lyall, C. Cochrane (rep. M. Jaffray
, 65 mins), S. Murdoch, G. Blair, S. Tomlinson, J. Macdonald (rep. S.
Renwick , 67 mins), E. Robbie (rep. G. Rees, 63 mins), M. Murray, D.
Jackson (rep. R. Crockatt, 21 mins), M. Barnett, J. Ross, N. Darling, A.
Referee — A. Williamson (Hawick).