Selkirk 10 Kelso 16

Selkirk unable to break Kelso defence as victory goes begging

DESPITE laying siege to Kelso’s try line for the final quarter of Saturday’s match, Selkirk simply couldn’t find a way through, allowing the visitors to notch their sixth league victory of the season, with Selkirk having to settle for a third loser’s bonus point. Both sides fielded one of their allocated professional players. Selkirk flanker Matt Taylor was playing his first competitive match since sustaining a foot injury last December, while Borders team-mate Iain Fairley turned out at centre for Kelso, having come on as a scrum-half replacement in the previous night’s Celtic League game at Netherdale. Kelso went ahead through a sixth minute penalty from their talented Samoan fly-half Ngapaku Manungapaku, after Taylor had been penalised for going to ground. Selkirk hit back soon afterwards. Ngapaku failed to find touch, and Cameron Cochrane’s chip to the visitors’ try line was scrambled out of play by Kelso full-back Murray Fleming. From the resultant line-out Selkirk’s pack set up a rolling maul, and a concerted drive saw prop Martin Murray burrow over for a try. Guy Blair’s conversion sailed over.

SPOT-ON. Referee David Jack is in perfect position to witness Martin Murray’s try for Selkirk in Saturday’s BT Premiership match against Kelso at Philiphaugh.

To the home supporters’ dismay, the restart kick was guddled by Selkirk, and the turnover allowed Ngapaku to kick a second penalty. This was the signal for Kelso to turn up the heat, and number eight Adam Roxburgh — the Tweedsiders’ most influential player on the day — made a scorching break from a quickly taken tap penalty, but the supporting Gordon Laing was unable to breach Selkirk’s last line of defence.
A neat drop-goal by Ngapaku coincided with a heavy downpour of rain, and there was no further scoring in the half, leaving Kelso 9-7 ahead at the break. Seven minutes into the second period Selkirk suffered a double blow. Stand-off Guy Blair damaged knee ligaments while attempting to tackle opposite number Ngapaku, and had to be carried from the field. Meanwhile Ngapaku was able to touch down for a try under the posts, adding the conversion to put Kelso 17-6 ahead.
Selkirk skipper Scott Tomlinson switched to stand-off, allowing replacement David Reive to take over his normal scrum-half role. Kelso pressed home their advantage by peppering high kicks into home team territory, but full-back Fraser Harkness was equal to the task.
When Kelso lost scrum-half Graeme Cowe with a leg knock in the 55th minute, it was Selkirk’s turn to apply the pressure. A series of well worked drives saw Alister Heatlie held up over the line by Roxburgh, while Neil Brown’s kick ahead went over the dead ball line, and Harkness was adjudged not to have grounded the ball when tackled close to the corner flag.
The last 15 minutes of the match saw Selkirk awarded a succession of penalties in the shadow of the visitors’ goal posts, but rather than kick the points the home side went all-out for a score. Eventually Scott Tomlinson did convert one of these awards into three points, but some resolute defending by Kelso prevented Selkirk from making any more headway.

SELKIRK — F. Harkness, N. Brown, D. Cassidy , C. Cochrane, A. Jamieson, G. Blair, S. Tomlinson, S. Renwick, E. Robbie, M. Martin, N. Darling, D. Jackson, M. Taylor, A. Heatlie, M. De Franck. Replacements used: D. Reive, I. Walling, M. Barnett.

KELSO — M. Fleming, D. Hirst, I. Fairley, G. Laing, G. Murray, N. Manungapaku, G. Cowe, D. Howlett, L. Logan, S. Lowrie, S. Paterson, I. Wallace, A. Wallace, S. Newlands, A. Roxburgh.

Referee — D. Jack (Madras FP).

* Selkirk A’s match against Lismore 2nds was cancelled on Saturday when
Lismore were unable to raise a team.

Selkirk held up over the line in their courageous effot to win in the dying minutes of the game

NO POT OF GOLD. Halfway through Saturday’s match against Kelso a huge rainbow appeared in the sky above Philiphaugh. Sadly the home team was unable to find a pot of gold at its end.