Selkirk 31 Jed-Forest 17 (Sat. Oct. 20th)

There was tension in the air on a fine autumn afternoon as kick-off time approached at Philiphaugh. Selkirk were keen to get over the disappointment of a narrow defeat at the hands of Stewarts/Melville the previous week and Jed were keen to secure a win that would lift them above the Souters in Premier League Division 2.
The game started in front of a sizeable crowd and Jed were first to make an impression. They enjoyed early territorial advantage and their ball retention skills were impressive. However, the Selkirk defence, which had wavered at Inverleith, dealt effectively with the threats posed by the Royal Blues. Selkirk started to come more into the game although ball possession was given up rather easily on several occasions. Rory Aglen and Eddie Gauche were performing well at the line outs and the first telling attack for Selkirk saw Scott Hendrie and Lee Jones combining at pace before the latter was brought to a halt by a last ditch tackle a few yards short of the try line. However, Selkirk did not have to wait long to open their account. Full back, Fraser Harkness burst through at pace from 20 metres leaving the Jed defence in his wake. David Cassidy added the conversion with ten minutes on the clock. Jed's response to the setback was swift and they proceeded to dominate the next period of play. A series of quick recycled balls stretched the Selkirk defence to the limit and a clear three to one overlap emerged. However, with the try line at their mercy, the final pass was spilled much to the relief of the home supporters and frustration of the visitors. A couple of missed penalties added to Jed's woes and despite all their pressure they had not troubled the lads operating the scoreboard. With 25 minutes gone, stand-off Gavin Craig took off on a mazy run that bamboozled the Jed defenders and probably some of his own team mates. His devastating run was brought to a halt just short of the posts but the ball was neatly transferred to prop, Gordon Patterson who crashed over through two defenders. David Cassidy added the conversion to make it 14-0 in Selkirk's favour.
To their credit Jed fought hard to get back in the game and skipper Scott Laidlaw was driven over the line for a try by his colleagues in the pack after a penalty kick option to the corner was chosen to secure a line-out. Donald Grieve failed to convert and as half time approached Selkirk regained the initiative with a second Harkness try at pace. The interval score line of 19-5 to Selkirk must have hurt the Riverside team because they had squandered several scoring opportunities in the opening 40 minutes.
The second half opened with Selkirk looking the more dangerous with their pacy back division threatening to cut loose and it came as no surprise when centre, Ali Lyall bulldozed over from short range to earn the Souters a bonus pint for scoring their fourth try. Once again David Cassidy brought out full points and Jed had to play catch up rugby to reduce the 26-5 deficit. Martin Murray and Rory Aglen had their moments with strong charges, ball in hand. Stung into action, the Jed pressure started to put the Selkirk defence under siege and it took skilful clearance kicks by Cassidy and scrum half Michael McVie to keep them at bay. Jed were playing with grim determination and it was no more than they deserved when Simon Lightbody sailed clean through for a fine individual try. Donald Grieve failed with his conversion attempt. Selkirk were starting to lose their shape a bit as the Jed onslaught continued. However, the nail in Jed's coffin was effectively sealed when replacement stand-off Guy Blair flighted an inch perfect cross kick into the waiting hands of Scott Hendrie on the right wing who found Fraser Harkness on his inside to complete a hat trick of tries after a bit of a juggling act. Time was running out for the visitors but their efforts were awarded a penalty try with only five minutes to go. The sniff of a possible fourth try bonus point kept Jed's interest alive but the final whistle signalled a Selkirk victory by 31-17. The Souters are now within one point of Premier 2 league leaders West of Scotland and Haddington. However, the coaches will make sure that they concentrate on cutting out silly mistakes for the visit to Cartha Queen's Park next week. The Premier 2 league is the type where teams near the bottom end are perfectly capable of beating teams near the top as Haddington discovered at Kelso on Saturday. There will be no complacency whatsoever as the campaign gathers momentum. Jed will lick their wounds and bounce back after this temporary set-back. Jed coach Gary Armstrong chose Michael McVie as the Selkirk "Man of the Match".