Selkirk 39, Gala 15

Thrilling victory over Maroons puts young Selkirk side in the record books


JENNO ON THE BALL. Selkirk blindside Scott Jeffrey supports back row colleague Alister Heatlie to set up another attack in Saturday's Division Two game against Gala at Philiphaugh on Saturday.

THERE was no disguising the shell-shocked appearance of Gala's players as they trooped dejectedly off the Philiphaugh pitch on Saturday, having conceded six tries to their old rivals. In complete contrast, Selkirk's jubilant team looked as if they'd just won the lottery.
The home players had good reason to celebrate, as their 39-15 victory represents the highest score ever achieved by a Selkirk team in almost 100 years of competitive rugby against the Maroons. Wins at any level don't come much sweeter. The return of Scott Jeffrey to the back row after a week on the sidelines undoubtedly gave the home side a huge lift, with the blindside flanker in outstanding form throughout the contest.
Equally impressive were back row colleagues Denver Rumney and Alister Heatlie, both of whom had their best games of the season to date, thereby giving Selkirk an advantage in the loose which they never once looked like surrendering. This in turn allowed the home threequarters' attacking potency to be given full rein, with five of Selkirk's tries being scored by members of the back division - full-back Fraser Harkness notching his fourth touchdown in as many games. Playing towards the scoreboard end, it took Selkirk just seven minutes to register their first points of the afternoon. A powerful run by Martin Murray split the visitors' defence, and Harkness picked an excellent angle to sprint over for a try, converted by Michael Rutherford.
Rutherford and opposite number Mike Dodds then exchanged penalties, before Murray - just as he had done at Berwick the previous week - took a quick tap penalty in the shadow of the opposition goalposts, this time offloading to Simon Murdoch, who scrambled over for the try.
Gala put Selkirk under pressure for the next 10 minutes, assisted by a string of penalties and a number of set piece turnovers, but all the visitors had to show for their efforts was an unsuccessful drop-goal attempt by Dodds. Just before halftime the Souters stretched their lead when Heatlie's clever scrum pick-up saw Harkness burst clear on the blind, perfectly drawing his man before sending Murdoch over in the corner for his second score of the day.
Having lost the services of skipper Darren Hoggan just before the break, acting captain Scott Jeffrey and Gala skipper Tom Weir were called together by referee Iain Clark after a free-for-all between both sets of forwards erupted in front of the new clubhouse. Soon afterwards Gala reduced the deficit when Rutherford failed to find touch from a penalty, and the ball was spun across the complete width of the pitch for wing Steve Craig to sprint round the cover and score near the corner. Dodds added the difficult conversion. In the 53rd minute Rutherford's chip to the Gala try line resulted in a tangle between Harkness and two defenders, and the loose ball was tapped over the line by Craig Hunter, with the wing then dropping on top of it for a try and bonus point. Rutherford converted.
Selkirk's next touchdown came when Jeffrey received the ball in space and set off on a run up the middle of the field. The move was continued by Murdoch and Alistair Lyall, and finished off in style by lock Neil Darling, who burrowed over for the try.
To their credit kept battling away, and after Selkirk had been penalised shortly after losing their own scrum ball, replacement Greg Brown took a quick tap penalty and dummied his way over for the visitors' second try.
With the match moving into injury time, Ryan Crockatt followed up a fierce tackle by forcing a turnover, and when Dodds attempted to clear his line the ball was charged down by Ciaran Beattie and the scrum-half reacted quickly to touch down over the line for Selkirk's sixth try.
Satisfying as the win was, Selkirk can expect no favours at Nielson Park this Saturday against winless Haddington, and coaches Brian Cassidy and Steve Scott will no doubt be working to shore up some areas of concern on the training pitch in the coming days.

SELKIRK: F. Harkness, S. Murdoch, A. Lyall, A. Dickson, S. Hendrie, M. Rutherford, C. Beattie, M. Murray (rep. G. Patterson 25 mins), D. Hoggan (rep. E. Robbie 35 mins), B. Rawcliffe, N. Darling, S. Renwick, S. Jeffrey, D. Rumney (rep. R. Crockatt 50 mins), A. Heatlie. Replacement (not used): M. Jaffray.

GALA: A. Wood, S. Craig, C. Dalgleish, S. Chapman, C. Lawson, M. Dodds, Martin Christie, Mike Christie, E. Johnstone, M. Horsburgh, C. Weir, G. Bryce, T. Miskelly, T. Weir. Replacements: J. McAntee, C. Keddie, P. Monro, G. Brown.

Referee - Iain Clark (Haddington).