Selkirk 16 Watsonians 40

’Sonians surge leaves Selkirk on the ropes

THEY may have missed out on promotion last season, but on Saturday’s showing Watsonians look cast-iron certainties for first division rugby next year. For although Selkirk managed to contain the visitors up until halftime, when they only trailed 20-16, once the Myreside men turned up the heat in the second period the Souters were left chasing shadows. Clearly Selkirk’s selectors will need to go back to the drawing boards, for after suffering heavy back-to-back home defeats the shape of the team has to be changed. One positive development comes with the news that livewire flanker Craig Forster came through his comeback game against Gala YM with flying colours. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to predict that he would make an ideal back row partner for the rapidly improving Aussie openside Matt de Franck. By contrast, home supporters have yet to see the best of Kiwi utility threequarter Karl Saunders, who saw very little of the ball at inside centre on Saturday. The Christchurch High School Old Boys full-back is rated highly enough back home to be selected for the Canterbury B XV, but looks to be finding it difficult to get the measure of premiership rugby.
The match could hardly have got off to a worse start for Selkirk. Straight from the kick-off Watsonians’ powerful South African skipper, right wing Graeme Haley, gathered the ball and bulldozed his way past a clutch of home players. Soon afterwards, when the ball was again recycled, he repeated the feat, only this time out-sprinting the cover to score a fine try. Ironically it was Selkirk, rather than the visitors, who seemed to take more heart from this setback. Steady pressure on the ‘Sonians line was rewarded when teenage wing Craig Hunter sprinted over for an excellent score - his fifth try in the past four matches ( a strike rate which even hamstrung Kiwi flyer Simon Murdoch would be proud of).
The home side’s other points in this period came from the boot of Guy Blair, who converted Hunter’s try and added three penalties. Watsonians kept their opponents in check with further tries from Hayley
and Bernard Hennessey, with the latter adding a conversion and penalty. After the break it was a different story, however, with the visitors showing more urgency in the forwards and some electric pace in the backs. The result? Three tries from Kerr, Coertze and Tweedie, and some grim faces in the home team’s designated area. This Saturday’s match against bottom club Grangemouth - without a win
this season - now takes on added significance. If Selkirk are to get their show back on the road, then they couldn’t ask for a more auspicious set of circumstances in which to do it.

SELKIRK — F. Jack, M. Jaffray, D. Cassidy, K. Saunders, C. Hunter, G.
Blair, S. Tomlinson, J. McDonald, D. Hoggan, M. Murray, D. Jackson, N.
Darling, M. de Franck, B. Gentleman, F. Stevens. Replacements used — N.
Brown, J. McDonald, E. Robbie, D. Lithgow.
Referee - A. Hepburn (Lenzie).