Selkirk 11...... Stewarts Melville FP 17

Colleges stand firm to thwart Selkirk

AFTER blowing hot for their previous three games, Selkirk picked Saturday’s Combined Tournament fixture against Stewart’s/Melville FP at Philiphaugh to blow cold. Although gaining a bonus point by dint of being within seven points of the visitors’ total, this was of little consolation at the end of thoroughly misery-inducing afternoon.
The biggest blow was undoubtedly the injury suffered by fly-half Guy Blair, who required hospital treatment after breaking two bones in his hand, and who will now be ruled out for the rest of the season. Another cause for concern was the neck injury suffered by prop Grant Ruthven, not least because fellow prop John McDonald travels south this week to start a six-month work contract in Bournemouth, and won’t be turning out for Selkirk again in the current campaign.
However, these injuries apart, it was Selkirk’s lack of penetration behind the scrum - something which
has been an area of concern all season - that proved the deciding factor on the day. For despite having
the measure of Stewart’s/Melville up front, the home team simply couldn’t turn pressure into points, especially in the later stages of the contest.
Another crucial blow to morale came when Stuart Bartwicki intercepted a pass which, if it had found its man, would have resulted in a certain score for Selkirk. Instead the Stewart’s/Melville centre pinned his ears back and raced the length of the field for a classic interception try.
Earlier the visitors had taken the lead when prop Danny Smidt powered his way over for a score, while a third try by Donald Scott gave Colleges a slightly flattering 17-0 interval lead.
After the break Selkirk began to look more dangerous, but despite long periods of pressure could only muster two penalties from the boot of David Cassidy and a try by back row man Alister Heatlie.
With a bit of luck prop Paul Lyons will be back to full fitness for Selkirk’s next game - a Border League fixture against Peebles at Philiphaugh on Friday, March 28 - but the most pressing need is for the
Souters to regain their confidence and keep focused for their two other matches against Melrose and Berwick.


Photo G. Kinghorn

SELKIRK : D. Cassidy, N. Brown, C. Cochrane, M. Jaffray, C. Hunter, G.
Blair (rep. A. Jamieson), M. McVie, J. McDonald, D. Hoggan, G. Ruthven
(rep. D. Lithgow), M. Barnett, D. Jackson, N. Darling (rep. M. de
Franck), A. Stevenson (rep. W. Gentleman), A. Heatlie.

Referee: Alan Williamson (Hawick).