No hiding place for Selkirk as Kirkcaldy
call the shots.
THERE was a sense of ‘deja-vu’ about Selkirk’s
disastrous defeat at the hands of Kirkcaldy on Saturday. When these two teams met at Philiphaugh
at the beginning of October, Selkirk recorded a decisive 27-3 victory, prompting Kirkcaldy coach Andy Henderson
to say after the match that his team “simply hadn’t got off the bus”. This statement could equally have applied
to Selkirk’s poor performance at Beveridge Park, where the Souters were so far off the pace in the first half that
it looked at one stage as though Kirkcaldy might run up an even bigger score.
A five-star display by the home pack lay at the heart of the Fifers’ triumph, with no-one doing more for the Kirkcaldy
cause than skipper Kenny Fraser. This powerhouse of a second row forward led from the front at all times, and under
his leadership the Kirkcaldy eight never allowed the visiting forwards into the game, proving quicker to the breakdown,
more aggressive in contact, and above all far hungrier for the ball. Selkirk didn’t help themselves by conceding
a string of penalties, while turnovers and handling errors added to the visitors’ woes. Playing with the strong
wind in their favour, Kirkcaldy took just nine minutes to open their account when centre Derek McCombe sliced through
for a try near the posts, after Selkirk had lost possession on their own line-out throw. The same player added
the conversion. Two strikes against the head set up another promising position for Kirkcaldy, and a
quickly taken tap penalty caught the visiting defence on the back foot, allowing number eight Craig McDonald to
burst over the line for his side’s second try.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Souters. A series of missed first-time tackles allowed the home team
to launch an attack deep into their opponents’ half, and from a line-out close to Selkirk’s line skipper Kenny
Fraser was able to bulldoze his way over for a finely executed try. Minutes later the game was over as a contest
when Kirkcaldy smashed through Selkirk’s defence straight form the restart kick, and a thrilling bout of handling
down the left touch line culminated in Fraser notching his second touchdown of the afternoon. McCombe’s successful
conversion put the Fifers out of sight with a 24-0 interval lead.
With the elements in their favour after the break, Selkirk at last began to show glimpses of their true potential.
Skipper Scott Tomlinson launched an incisive break up the middle of the field, before neatly executing a reverse
pass to Craig Forster, whose kick ahead took the Borderers to within five metres of the home try line. Sadly the
visitors were unable to capitalise on this pressure, and shortly afterwards Guy Blair pulled a penalty attempt
wide of the posts.
With time running out, and Selkirk still unable to break Kirkcaldy’s stranglehold, the visitors made a string of
substitutions — the most noteworthy of these being the re-appearance in the senior side of club captain Cameron
Cochrane, sidelined for the past five months by a serious knee injury. Unfortunately even his presence couldn’t
prevent Kirkcaldy from adding to their tally in the dying seconds of the match: McDonald crossing for his second
try of the afternoon after yet another powerful home attack had penetrated the visitors’ defence. McCombe’s successful
conversion brought the curtain down on a display that Selkirk’s players and their small band of supporters will
be more thanhappy to consign to history.
HIGH POINT. Selkirk
lock Dwayne Jackson — arguably the team’s most consistent performer this season — out-jumps opposite number Kenny
Fraser to secure line-out possession at Beveridge Park on Saturday.
SELKIRK — D. Cassidy, A. Jamieson (rep. C. Cochrane), S. Tomlinson M.
Jaffray, S. Murdoch, G. Blair, F. Jack, J. McDonald, D. Hoggan (rep. G.
Ruthven), P. Lyons, M. Barnett (rep. D. Lithgow), D. Jackson, C. Forster
(rep. J. Ross), A. Heatlie, A. Stevenson.
Referee: M. Valentine (Stewartry).