Selkirk 'A' 21, Melrose 2nds 28

Melrose's second half fightback too much for young Selkirk 'A' side

CONNOR'S CATCH. Selkirk 'A' lock Keith Connor prepares to secure line-out ball at Philiphaugh on Saturday, watched by team-mate Matt Robertson (right).

RUD'S BALL. Selkirk skipper Fraser Jack awaits developments after firing out a pass to half-back partner Michael Rutherford in the match against Melrose 2nds at Philiphaugh on Saturday.

AHEAD 21-0 at the break, it looked as though Selkirk 'A' had the beating of Melrose 2nds in Saturday's friendly fixture at Philiphaugh. The visitors had other ideas, however, and monopolised possession in the second half to score four unanswered tries and run out deserved winners.

Both sides contributed to a highly competitive and free-flowing contest, with the home team using the occasion to blood a handful of Selkirk Youth Club players - Matt Robertson in particular showing up well at openside flanker.

The game also marked the return to action of first team fly-half Michael Rutherford, sidelined for the past two months by a troublesome knee injury. The former Scotland under-19 player had a 20-minute spell in each half, taking full contact and showing no ill-effects.

It took the home side just three minutes to open their account, when centre Jim Ross's angled run saw him slice through the visitors' defence to score under the posts without a hand being laid on him. The same player converted.

Soon afterwards fellow centre Michael Jaffray got his name on the scoresheet. The veteran threequarter showed a good turn of pace to break down the right touchline, before cutting inside the Melrose defence to touch down the ball. Ross added the conversion.

Selkirk increased their lead thanks to an excellent individual score from skipper Fraser Jack. The scrum-half broke right from a scrum on Melrose's 10-metre line, and proceeded to side-step his way past no fewer than five Melrose players - flinging himself over the line (via a post pad) for a great solo try. Ross added his third successful conversion, and moments later made a try-saving tap-tackle to deny Melrose a certain score.

With home coach Cameron Cochrane making several changes in personnel at halftime to give the Youth Club players some game time, Selkirk never regained the same level of composure in the final 40 minutes.

Melrose took advantage of an interception and then a turnover to hit back with tries from Greg Davidson and Ciaran Miles. Selkirk's cause also wasn't helped when lock Steven Renwick was yellow-carded for obstruction following a warning from the referee moments earlier.

As the game progressed Melrose's players grew in confidence, and in the final quarter managed to overhaul Selkirk's total with tries from Chris Hardie and Barry Watson - the latter player landing all four conversion kicks to seal his side's 28-21 victory.

SELKIRK - R. Monks, A. Godsmark, J. Ross, M. Jaffray, R. Miller, M. Rutherford, F. Jack, R. Price, S. Rodgerson, R. Reid, K. Connor, S. Renwick, D. Gray, M. Robertson, J. Everitt. Replacements: P. Forrest, S. Paton, A. Miller, F. Tough, N. Brown, D. Scott.

Referee - P. Lindsay (Walkerburn).