Stewart’s/Melville FP 33, Selkirk 10

Selkirk plumb depths with drab display at Inverleith

READY TO ROLL. Selkirk scrum-half Michael McVie prepares to launch his threequarter line in the second half of Saturday’s match against Stewart’s/Melville at Inverleith.

AFTER coming within a whisker of toppling league leaders Gala just seven days ago, Selkirk’s fortunes hit rock-bottom at Inverleith on Saturday, where a hungrier home side fully deserved their bonus point victory. The visitors showed two changes in their line-up — teenage prop Steven Renwick replacing the injured Iain Purves for his first start in senior rugby, while skipper Scott Tomlinson switched to centre after Cammy Cochrane failed a fitness test, with Michael McVie taking over at scrum-half.
However, these changes could not explain such a badly disjointed performance by the visitors, with missed tackles, turnovers and a general lethargy about the field allowing a young Colleges team to grow in confidence as they game progressed.A measure of the home side’s superiority could be gauged from the fact that they scored more points playing against the wind in the second half, than they did playing with the elements behind them in the opening period.
Stewart’s/Melville took the lead in the fourth minute when Sam Hendry kicked a penalty, but soon afterwards Selkirk went ahead for the first and last time in the match. Allen Jamieson managed to break up a Colleges counter-attack down the left flank, and found Fraser Harkness up in support. The former Youth Club skipper beat two men on his way to the line, just managing to touch the ball down in spite of a last-gasp tackle by Anderson.
A thumping line kick by Stewart’s/Melville player-coach — ex-Melrose internationalist Graham Shiel — then set up a promising position on the visitors’ 22, but when Selkirk won their own scrum ball it appeared the danger would be cleared. However, a threequarters move went disastrously wrong, leaving the ball lying in no-man’s land. Shiel simply picked it up and fed Samson, who strolled home under the posts for a try which Hendry easily converted.
Only a magnificent try-saving tackle by Selkirk’s most consistent player, flanker Matt de Franck, on scrum-half Clark prevented the home side from increasing their lead, but two more penalties from the boot of Hendry eventually gave Stewart’s/Melville a 16-5 advantage at halftime.
Ian Walling started the second period at hooker in place of Ewen Robbie, and for a while it looked as though the visitors would settle to their task and make inroads into Colleges’ lead.
A cracking try by former Gala wing Mike Elliott, following a move involving half his team-mates, stretched the home lead further, before Harkness sprinted over for his second try of the match after a searing midfield break by teenage centre Alistair Lyall.
That was the signal for Stewart’s/Melville to step up a gear, and when de Franck was yellow-carded by referee Gary Duncan for a ruck infringement after a team warning, the home side took full advantage with another try by Samson and one from number eight Clark.
The visitors’ misery was complete when Harkness had to be led from the field near the end of the match with bruised ribs, leaving Selkirk’s sizeable travelling support with only one option: to head for the bar and drown their sorrows.

OFF-PAT. Marcus Barnett out-jumps his opposite number to win line-out ball at Inverleith on Saturday.

SELKIRK — D. Cassidy (rep. N. Brown 50 mins), F. Harkness (rep. R. Crockatt 74 mins), A. Lyall, S. Tomlinson, A. Jamieson, G. Blair, M.
McVie, S. Renwick, E. Robbie (rep. I. Walling 43 mins), M. Murray, M. Barnett, D. Jackson, J. Ross, A. Heatlie, M. De Franck.