Selkirk 32, Haddington 24

Selkirk restore pride with hard-fought win over Haddington

Photo G.Kinghorn
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 - scored
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).