Cartha Queen's Park 11 Selkirk 17 (Sat. Oct. 27th)

Dull, overcast conditions filled the Dumbreck air for Selkirk's latest trip to Glasgow. The forecast of heavy rain and high winds had failed to materialise by the time the match kicked-off. Both sides were taking time to settle during the opening exchanges and Selkirk, who were playing into a moderate breeze showed their early intentions to shift the ball wide to a speedy back division. A powerful run by full-back Fraser Harkness led to a surging drive by the supporting forwards to set up an attacking opportunity deep inside the CQP 22. South African, Eddie Gauche, showed that he knows the most direct way to the try line, powering his way over, brushing off the attention of a couple of CQP defenders in the process. David Cassidy was unlucky with the conversion attempt when the ball toppled over just as he was about to strike the kick.
This early set-back stirred CQP into action and it soon became apparent that the contest was going to be a tight affair. David Cassidy relieved the pressure with a fine clearance kick from behind his own line and scrum-half, Lee Jones did likewise to thwart the Cartha challenges. A clean break by Gavin Craig saw the stand-off linking well with Harkness to take play into the CQP half and David Cassidy made no mistake with a penalty attempt from 40 metres out. Selkirk had weathered the storm, despite their scrum being under pressure and the 8-0 lead after 25 minutes was no more than they deserved.
The following period can only be described as scrappy as several Selkirk backs were guilty of poor kicking, both in attack and defence. Frustration was setting in and decision making lapses played into the hands of the opposition. Competitive jumping by Rory Aglen and Eddie Gauche meant that the Souters were enjoying the better of the line-outs, even on the opposition's throw-ins. However, CQP came right back into the game with a penalty by stand-off Andrew White after some good bouts of handling put Selkirk under pressure. Cartha could have narrowed the gap even further, but another penalty attempt drifted wide of the mark. The pattern was broken when Fraser Harkness, broke clean through and was blatantly obstructed without the ball. Scott Hendrie nearly scored from the grubber kick by Harkness but just failed to control the ball. Cassidy kicked his second penalty of the afternoon to take the Souters to an 11-3 lead at half-time.
The second half started poorly for Selkirk when Scott Hendrie was sin-binned for impeding his opposite number in the CQP 22. This was, arguably, an inconsistent refereeing decision bearing in mind the Harkness episode only minutes before half-time had only resulted in a penalty. Playing conditions were deteriorating by this stage and Cartha were dealing better with the elements. The Dumbreck supporters were elated when a catch and drive move from a line-out five metres from the Selkirk line resulted in skipper Robert Harvey scoring a try. A yellow-card for Gordon Patterson did not help Selkirk's cause and mid-way through the second half the home team drew level with a well struck penalty into the rain and wind by centre Nicky Craig. A string of penalty decisions against Selkirk saw slippage in discipline and Cartha caught a sniff of victory in the air. Fraser Harkness looked to have regained the lead for Selkirk with a smart blind-side try, but the referee disallowed the score and awarded Selkirk the scrum. The trusty boot of David Cassidy sealed the narrow win for Selkirk with a couple of long range penalties in the final ten minutes to make the final score, CQP 11 Selkirk 17. They say that it is always the sign of a good team when you play badly and still win! Saturday's victory means that Selkirk have won four games away from home which is a pretty good record bearing in mind the competitive nature of Premier 2. With the visit of Aberdeen GSFP coming up next Saturday Selkirk will have to work on the weaker areas of their game and coaches, Rodney Pow and Kevin Barrie will have plenty to say at training this week.