Berwick 5, Selkirk 51

MADE IT! Selkirk lock Eddie Gauché can't hide his delight at scoring a try in the first half of Saturday's match against Berwick.

PLAYING into the teeth of a typically fierce east coast gale couldn't blunt the attacking power of Selkirk at Scremerston on Saturday, with the visitors underlining their superiority by scoring five first half tries against the wind, thereby snuffing out any chance of a Berwick revival.

To their credit the home team put up stiff resistance right to the final whistle, full-back Mark Laidlaw and Scotland under-18 wing Max Learmonth both showing up well in open play. It was Laidlaw who scored Berwick's only try of the game in the 16th minute, after Scott Hendrie had been penalised by referee Gary King for crossing in front of fly-half Ross Armstrong.

Before this Selkirk had taken a 10-0 lead through tries from Hendrie and Michael McVie (his first of the season). The first came after Armstrong broke blind and found Hendrie in acres of space wide on the right, with the second resulting from McVie's scrum-five break and dummy. Both of David Cassidy's conversion attempts looked to be on target, before being blown violently clear of the posts at the crucial moment.

Debutant lock Andrew Renwick was showing plenty of aggression in the loose, making a couple of powerful surges up either touchline to keep the visitors on the front foot. On the 25-minute mark skipper Fraser Harkness put his team 15-5 ahead with a well executed try after a scrum pick-up and pop pass by number eight Scott Tomlinson.

Next on the score sheet was Selkirk's South African second row forward Eddie Gauché, whose try came after a breathtaking build-up. Cassidy made a slick inside break and threw out a long pass to Hendrie, with the move being carried on by Ryan Crockatt, before McVie steamed up in support to put Gauché over for the score.

On the stroke of halftime Callum Johnston forced a turnover at a Berwick scrum, and after Cassidy's chip ahead had been collected by Hendrie, Armstrong was on hand to draw the final defender and send Cassidy over for a try between the posts. Cassidy's conversion gave Selkirk a 27-5 halftime lead.

After the break further tries came at regular intervals from Harkness, Cassidy, Keith Connor and Alan McDowall, with Cassidy kicking two conversions to take his points tally for the season to 280 and break the Selkirk single season points scoring record previously held by coach Rodney Pow.

Selkirk must now defeat Hawick at Mansfield Park in their final Pool B fixture to book a place in the Border League final play-off for the second season in a row.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT. Selkirk skipper Fraser Harkness battles past a clutch of Berwick defenders to score the first of his two tries at Scremerston on Saturday. [Photos: Grant Kinghorn]

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, S. Hendrie, D. Cassidy, R. Nixon, C. Davies, R. Armstrong, M. McVie, G. Patterson, I. Walling, A. McDowall, A. Renwick, E. Gauché, R. Crockatt, C. Johnston, S. Tomlinson. Replacements: M. Jaffray, R. Price, K. Connor, S. McDonald.

Referee - G. King (Hawick).