Confident Colleges punish below
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
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 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.
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.
Alister Heatlie - scrum
pick-up led to try for his skipper.
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.