Kelso 15, Selkirk 13

Kelso end losing streak, as Selkirk get stuck in the mud.

ABOVE all else, the one quality Selkirk’s play has lacked this season is consistency. And so it didn’t altogether come as a surprise that the club’s gutsy showing against promotion favourites GHA on Saturday shouldbe followed by a below par display against bottom club Kelso in Tuesday night’ s rescheduled league game at Poynder Park.
Injuries to pack leader Fred Stevenson (torn hamstring) and fly-half Guy Blair (calf strain) clearly didn’t help matters, but the Philiphaugh side can have few complaints about the outcome of the match, which saw the fired-up Tweedsiders notch their first league win since October 2. No-one was more influential for the home team than skipper Adam Roxburgh. With ball in hand the former Scotland number eight is one of the best attacking back row men in Scottish club rugby, and a typical piece of Roxy pizzazz proved the match’s turning point.
With Selkirk leading 13-8 early in the second half, and once again pressing hard, Roxburgh picked up from the base of the scrum and exploded past Matt de Franck on a 65-metre run downfield. Although stopped just yards short of Selkirk’s try line, this piece of individual skill visibly lifted Kelso’s spirits... and the Black and Whites never looked back.
Soon afterwards Roxburgh gathered cleanly at the tail of a line-out and breached Selkirk’s first line of defence. Two phases later scrum-half Graeme Cowe was able to burrow his way over the line for the contest’s decisive score, with Robin Carruther’s conversion kick putting Kelso 15-13 ahead - a lead they never relinquished.
In the game’s opening stages Selkirk made the brighter start, Blair landing a penalty in the ninth minute after two strong bursts by wing
Craig Hunter had put Kelso on the back foot. Midway through the half Selkirk extended their lead when Michael Jaffray sliced through the middle to send Simon Murdoch scampering over for his first try of the season.
A Carruthers penalty kept Kelso in contention, and the Tweedsiders drew level soon afterwards when right wing Stuart Weir squeezed over near the corner flag after the visitors had failed to clear their lines. Back came Selkirk, with David Cassidy capitalising on a fine break by Darren Hoggan to sprint home for his side’s second try to put Selkirk 13-8 ahead at the interval.
It was a totally different story in the second half, however. With the surface of the pitch becoming more glutinous by the minute thanks to the incessant rain, it was the Tweedsiders who adapted better to the deteriorating conditions, keeping Selkirk pinned deep in their own
territory for virtually the remainder of the match. With the visiting pack losing their shape and Kelso’s eight becoming hungrier for the ball, the Black and Whites’ third league win was in the bag.

Selkirk lock forward Dwayne Jackson reaches up to secure line-out ball
in the Selkirk v. Kelso match on Tuesday night.

SELKIRK — D. Cassidy, S. Murdoch, M. Jaffray, S. Tomlinson, C. Hunter,
G. Blair (rep. B. Armstrong), M. McVie, J. McDonald (rep. G. Ruthven),
D. Hoggan, P. Lyons, M. Barnett, (rep. N. Darling), D. Jackson, M. de
Franck, C. Forster, F. Stevenson (rep. D. Lithgow).

Referee: D. Douglas (Hawick).

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