Kelso 6, Selkirk 6

Selkirk miss out in dour Border derby

HAVING crossed for eight tries in their previous match, Selkirk's players found Kelso's defence a far tougher nut to crack at Poynder Park on Saturday. Both sides had chances
to clinch victory in a frantic closing spell, but ultimately each team would probably settle for a share of the points in a scrappy, ill-tempered contest.

Selkirk made the more positive start, and centre Alistair Lyall came close to scoring in the opening minutes after skipper Scott Jeffrey had secured possession at the tail of a line-out on Kelso's 22.

After missing a penalty kick in the seventh minute, Selkirk stand-off Michael Rutherford made amends soon afterwards, when he slotted over a 25-metre attempt after Ciaran Beattie had been flattened by a late challenge.

Kelso pressed hard for the next five minutes, visiting openside Denver Rumney putting in a fine tackle on Black & Whites' captain Graeme Cowe as the full-back threatened to break the Selkirk cordon.

With both sides making unforced errors and conceding penalties, play became disjointed. After 28 minutes referee Gary Gordon reversed a penalty in Selkirk's favour, at the same time sending Kelso wing Richard Laing to the sin bin.

During his absence Rutherford missed two more penalty kicks, and three minutes before the interval Selkirk experienced another setback when Rumney received a yellow card for a late challenge on Kelso stand-off Daniel Penny. The resulting penalty attempt was struck wide by Kevin Utterson.

Just before the interval it looked as though visiting centre David Cassidy had put full-back Fraser Harkness over for a try, only for the referee to call the players back for a forward pass.

The Tweedsiders made by far the livelier start to the second half, Penny coming close to scoring in the corner, while Utterson's chip over the try line was scrambled clear by Beattie. After 51 minutes Kelso drew level when Utterson landed a penalty - just reward for some strong runs by Richard Minto and Gordon Laing.

Five minutes later Selkirk suffered a major blow when number eight Scott Jeffrey retired to the sidelines with a rib injury. Soon afterwards Ciaran Beattie - one of the visitors' best performers on the day - kicked a penalty to put his team 6-3 ahead.

Midway through the half Selkirk lock Neil Darling was yellow-carded for a late challenge, and during his absence Utterson levelled the scores from a penalty.

Things turned sour in the closing minutes with a series of flare-ups between the two packs, prompting the referee to speak to both captains.

In the fourth minute of injury time Kelso scrum-half Iain Fairlie received a red card after an incident right in front of a touch judge. Ciaran Beattie sent the resultant penalty kick wide of the posts, and in the game's final seconds Cowe almost snatched victory with a break up the middle, but was well collared by replacement Guy Blair.

The final whistle blew immediately afterwards, bringing the curtain down on a game neither team will rank as its finest hour.

Ciaran Beattie - one of the visitors' best performers on the day - kicked a penalty to put his team 6-3 ahead.(Photos G. Kinghorn)

KELSO - G. Cowe, S. Millar, R. Minto, K. Utterson, R. Laing, D. Penny, I. Fairlie, R. Glendinning, L. Logan, S. Lowrie, S. Patterson, T. Callander, A. Ralston, G. Laing, I. Wallace. Replacements (all used): D. Gillespie, M. Robertson, A. Wallace, D. Laing.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, C. Beattie, , D. Cassidy, A. Lyall, S. Hendrie, M. Rutherford, M. McVie, B. Rawcliffe, E. Robbie, M. Murray, N. Darling, S. Renwick, J. Ross, D. Rumney, S. Jeffrey. Replacements (all used): R. Taylor, G. Patterson, I. Walling, G. Blair.

Referee - G. Gordon (Hillfoots).