Edinburgh Accies 24, Selkirk 13

Never-say-die Selkirk unable to derail the Accies' bandwagon

MISSING seven players through injury, Selkirk's makeshift side put up a brave fight at Raeburn Place on Saturday, but in the end lacked the firepower to overhaul the Edinburgh team's first-half lead.
Making their first senior appearances of the season, Bruce Armstrong, Fraser Jack and Gavin Craig all acquitted themselves well, with Craig in particular coming on to an impressive game, despite being flattened by what looked like a suspiciously late challenge early on in the contest.
The inability of Selkirk's players to control the ball when in possession, particularly in an error-strewn first half, ultimately proved their downfall. For when the visitors did manage to hit their stride with some typically free-flowing passages of play after the interval, Accies had already scored four tries to put the issue beyond doubt.
Exciting breaks by Fraser Harkness, Alistair Lyall and Neil Brown all came within a whisker of being translated into tries as the home team's lack of match practice began to show, but good defensive work by full-back Matt Coupar kept Accies' line intact.
Saturday's game also marked the comeback of Selkirk openside Denver Rumney, who turned in a typically uncompromising display, and showed the visitors' large band of travelling supporters that he has lost none of his appetite for the game since being stretchered off at Netherdale on December 10.
Accies opened the scoring after 11 minutes when a scrum-pick up by Matt Rodgers found the Selkirk defence at sixes and sevens, allowing Coupar to scamper under the posts for a try, converted by Browne.
Guy Blair cut the deficit with a penalty six minutes later, and the same player went close to scoring soon afterwards when his chip ahead proved too powerful and crossed over the dead ball line.
Another defensive lapse just before halftime saw Luke McCann break a tackle and offload to Coupar, who needed no second invitation to waltz under the posts for another touchdown, with Browne again adding the conversion.
In injury time Harkness made a superb tackle on Coupar to deny the full-back his hat-trick, and the score remained 14-3 in the home team's favour at the break.
Eight minutes into the half Rumney and opposite number Dan Teague were both sin-binned after a flare-up at a maul. Despite withstanding a series of close-quarter drives following good line-out work by Accies' lock Alistair Dale, Selkirk's defensive dam finally broke, allowing prop Peter Burns to be driven over for a try after 55 minutes.
A thrilling counter-attack by Harkness then took play up to Accies' 22, where a quickly taken tap penalty saw Scott Jeffrey and Alister Heatlie make good ground. When the ball was switched to the narrow side, replacement Ryan Crockatt was up in support to crash over for the visitors' first try.
This put fresh life into Selkirk, with Brown, Rumney and Lyall all coming close to scoring in quick succession. However, a knock-on allowed the city side to clear the danger, and soon afterwards Adam Broatch found himself in space wide on the right, to run over in the corner for the clinching try.
A flurry of penalties to Selkirk in the latter stages of the contest saw Scott Jeffrey held up over the try line, and it was left to back row colleague Alister Heatlie to score a consolation touchdown for the visitors following a well co-ordinated line-out drive by the Selkirk pack.

EDIN. ACCIES: M. Coupar, D. Rattray, L. McCann, B. Di Rollo, A. Broatch, R. Browne, M. Campbell, P. Burns, E. Stott, A. Marsh, G. Campbell, A. Dale, G. Brown, D. Teague, M. Rodgers. Replacements: J. Henderson, S. Willet, P. Coupar, C. Dunlop.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, G. Blair, A. Lyall, M. Jaffray, B. Armstrong, G. Craig, F. Jack, B. Rawcliffe, D. Hoggan, G. Patterson, S. Renwick, S. Jeffrey, S. Tomlinson, D. Rumney, A. Heatlie. Replacements: E. Robbie, R. Taylor, R. Crockatt, N. Brown.

Referee - G. Knox.

FAST RELEASE. Edinburgh Accies' scrum-half Mike Campbell moves the ball away from a line-out in Saturday's Division Two match against Selkirk at Raeburn Place.