Selkirk 11, Stewart’s/Melville FP 32

Confident Colleges punish below par Selkirk

HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Selkirk lock Dwayne Jackson secures line-out
possession during Saturday’s league match against Stewart’s/Melville at

HAVING failed to capitalise on the strong wind at their backs in the opening half, Selkirk couldn’t contain a confident and well drilled Stewart’s/Melville team when it was the visitors’ turn to harness the elements, and the city side duly ran out convincing winners. Once again it was the home pack’s inability to win set-piece possession which lay at the heart of the Philiphaugh side’s predicament. This resulted in frustratingly sporadic ball for the threequarters, and constantly put Selkirk on the back foot when they should have been the ones exerting pressure on their opponents. Selkirk haven’t won a match since their exhilarating win over league leaders Dundee four weeks ago, and the players will have to raise their game dramatically if this losing streak is to be halted at bottom club West of Scotland’s Burnbrae ground on Saturday. Even the third minute loss of player-coach Graham Shiel with a knee injury failed to faze Stewart’s/Melville, and a string of four consecutive penalties awarded against the home side saw the visitors work their way deep into their opponents’ half. Nevertheless Guy Blair’s 11th minute penalty allowed Selkirk to put the first points on the board. The home side had an opportunity to increase their lead soon afterwards when Alastair Lyall found himself in space with men outside, but his floated pass was intercepted by Colleges wing Jed Gordon, and the chance went begging.
After conceding another flurry of penalties in quick succession, Selkirk found themselves 7-3 down after South African prop Stephan de Beer bulldozed his way over for a try, following sustained pressure on the home line. Nick Wood added the simple conversion. Selkirk steadied the ship with a second Blair penalty, but just before halftime the visitors struck a significant blow when a neat scissors move allowed Kiwi full-back Tyrone Anderson to slice clean through the home defence for a try, which Wood duly converted to put Stewart’s/Melville 14-6 in front at the interval.
The second half had hardly begun when disaster struck for Selkirk. A promising attack up the left-hand side of the field by the home threequarters came to an abrupt end when Blair’s pass was intercepted by Colleges’ number eight Stuart Clark, who romped home from 40 metres to score under the posts. Selkirk’s players knew they had a mountain to climb, and their prospects of regaining the initiative became even bleaker when Denver Rumney (rib injury) and Craig Hunter (shoulder knock) both had to leave the field within minutes of other. Meanwhile Wood had stretched the visitors’ lead to 24-6 from a penalty. To their credit Selkirk never gave up trying, and managed to hit back through a fine try from skipper Scott Tomlinson, who took a scoring pass from number eight Alister Heatlie after he had dummied his way through the Colleges’ cover after a scrum pick-up on the ‘22’ line. A second penalty by Wood was followed in the dying seconds of the match by a try from Stewart’s/Melville FP’s inside centre Struan Samson, securing the Inverleith men a bonus point to take back with them to the capital.

Alister Heatlie - scrum pick-up led to try for his skipper.

Selkirk’s day of misery was complete when replacement prop Lindsay Carrick had himself to be replaced, after taking a knee knock within five minutes of coming on to the pitch.

SELKIRK — G. Blair, C. Hunter (rep. J. Ross, 58 mins), D. Rumney (rep. N. Brown, 56 mins), A. Lyall, F. Harkness, M. Rutherford, S. Tomlinson,
S. Renwick , I. Walling, M. Murray, D. Jackson, N. Darling, M. Taylor (rep. L. Carrick 74 mins; Carrick replaced by G. Rees 79 mins), A. Heatlie, M. de Franck.

Referee — H. Edwards (Edinburgh DS).

HOME PRESSURE. Selkirk skipper Scott Tomlinson prepares to feed a scrum
close to the Stewart’s/Melville try line in the early stages of
Saturday’s BT Premiership match at Philiphaugh.