West of Scotland 39 Selkirk 15 (Sat. Nov. 10th)

Selkirk travelled to Burnbrae last Saturday sitting top of Premier 2 and West were well prepared for the visit on a softish pitch. Early West pressure was met with solid defence as both teams had to contend with a tricky cross wind. The home pack was in the ascendency and West were first to get points on the board when stand-off Fraser Sinclair slotted a penalty goal after 10 minutes. The Souters were quick to retaliate and a sparkling move looked to have resulted in a try by winger Scott Hendrie. However, David Cassidy's pass was adjudged to have gone forward. The borderline call was made by the touch judge much to the dismay of the Selkirk supporters. However, only a few minutes later, full back Fraser Harkness gathered the ball in midfield, evaded a number of tackles and ran 40 metres to score in the corner. David Cassidy's conversion attempt shaved the outside of the posts. This was a wake-up call for West who quickly responded with a fine try by Fraser Sinclair who sailed through an opening to touch down between the posts giving him an easy conversion. The West stand-off was proving to be a dangerous runner. Cassidy narrowed the gap to 10-8 with a successful penalty kick after 25 minutes. Selkirk found themselves down to 7 forwards when prop Alan McDowell was sin-binned. Despite this temporary setback, Selkirk launched a series of attacks and were rewarded with their second try after 37 minutes. From a scrum on the home 22, Selkirk moved the ball left and Lee Jones smartly off-loaded the ball to David Cassidy who ran over unopposed for the touch-down which he duly converted to put Selkirk in the lead 15-10 with half-time approaching. The game continued to swing from end to end until West disrupted Selkirk scrum ball and took full advantage when Guy Perrett plunged over for an opportunist try after 44 minutes. Fraser Sinclair converted to make the score at half-time West 17 Selkirk 15. Although the game was still very much in the balance this was a crucial score for the home team.
However, West took a firm hold of both the ball and the game in the second half. West scrum half Sandy Service came off with an injury and his replacement Lewis Menzies quickly got on the scoreboard when he pounced on a loose ball, again from a Selkirk scrum, to score in the corner. The heavier West forwards were firing on full cylinders but the Selkirk backs always looked dangerous on the attack. With half an hour to go, Sinclair punted a high ball into the Selkirk half that bounced awkwardly for Selkirk but kindly for West. Left winger Ben Wright gathered the ball and weaved past a couple of Selkirk defenders, before popping the ball to supporting centre Dave Young who duly scored under the posts to take the score to 29-15. Selkirk were forced to chase the game and some enterprising passages of back play meant that West's defence had to be resolute. Opportuniteis to kick a couple of penalties were spurned by the Souters as they went for tries to narrow the deficit. With only 8 minutes remaining, another Sinclair penalty put the game beyond Selkirk much to the relief of the vociferous West supporters. Ben Wright again got into the act just before the final whistle with an interception try from West's 22, scampering the length of the field to go under the posts. Fraser Sinclair converted to make the score West 39 Selkirk 15 in what was an excellent advert for Club rugby by both sides. The forwards power of West saw them run out comfortable winners but not quite as comfortable as the score line suggests. Selkirk will be licking their wounds and keen to bounce back to winning ways against Hamilton next Saturday. Third place in Premier 2 at the half way point in the league programme still represents a healthy position.