Selkirk 'A' 37, Jed-Forest 'A' 6

No stopping Fraser Jack's men as Selkirk 'A' win through to play-off final for second successive year

HARD TO BEAT. Selkirk 'A' wing Ciaran Beattie showed no ill-effects from his recent injury when scoring Selkirk's third try in Saturday's semi-final play-off victory over Jed-Forest 'A'. (Photo: Grant Kinghorn)

DESPITE the scoreline, this was certainly no cakewalk for the home side, who were pushed all the way by a feisty Jed-Forest 'A' team in Saturday's fiercely contested Border Farm Supplies Championship semi-final play-off at Philiphaugh. The win takes the Souters through to their second successive final play-off, where they will again come up against old rivals Gala 'A', the current title holders.

"I was very pleased by the effort put in by all the players today," Selkirk 'A' coach Ewen Robbie said after the match. "Jed certainly gave us a hard game, but we kept our focus and eventually came out on top. After coming so close to victory in last year's final, I'm sure the boys will be doubly determined to go one better this time around."

Both sides made a nervous start to Saturday's play-off, Jed giving away a string of penalties while Selkirk conceded a couple of turnovers in promising positions. It was the visitors who took an early 6-3 lead thanks to two penalties from fly-half Ryan Miller to one from the boot of opposite number Rory Banks.

A second Banks penalty levelled the scores, and five minutes before the interval Selkirk openside Andrew Millar scored the first try of the afternoon. Ciaran Beattie ripped the ball from Gillan's grasp as the Jed wing attempted to field a high ball, and several phases later Millar was on hand to plunge over for the score, converted by Banks, putting the home team 13-6 ahead at halftime.

In the second period Jed's powerful centre pairing of skipper Scott McDonald and David Gobby threatened to cut loose, and it took a brave tackle by Darren Scott on opposite number Jamie McCraw to prevent the visiting full-back going over near the right-hand corner.

Selkirk stretched their lead when Fraser Jack broke from the base of a scrum close to Jed's try line, his reverse flip finding Scott McDonald, who needed no second invitation to crash over for a try. Banks added the conversion, and soon afterwards slotted his third penalty to put the home side 23-6 ahead.

This sparked the Royal Blues into action, and for the next 15 minutes the visitors laid siege to Selkirk's try line. However, try as they might, the Riverside men simply couldn't find any chinks in Selkirk's defensive armour - even when Millar was yellow-carded for persistent infringement at the breakdown.

In the final quarter Selkirk made certain of victory thanks to a fine solo try from Ciaran Beattie, who gathered a clearance kick outside the 22 and raced home in the left-hand corner. This was followed by Andrew Millar's second touchdown - both tries being converted by Rory Banks, taking his personal points tally for the match to 17.

Selkirk will now meet Gala 'A' in the final play-off, which will decide the destiny of this season's Border Farm Supplies Championship title. Details of the date and venue for this game are expected shortly.

SELKIRK - D. Scott, C. Beattie, C. MacDougall, A. Lyall, D. Clapperton, R. Banks, F. Jack, R. Price, P. Forrest, S. Renwick, C. Marshall, S. McDonald, M. Robertson, A. Millar, J. Everitt. Replacements: M. Murray, D. Gray, S. Nixon, B. Reid, R. Taylor, S. Tough, R. Nixon.

JED-FOREST - J. McCraw, C. Gillan, D. Gobby, S. MacDonald, S. Paxton, R. Miller, E. Fowler, P. Thomson, G. Nagle, G. Slorance, S. Scott, P. Hill, M. Cairns, G. Ramsey, G. Taylor. Replacements: C. Page, G. Johnstone, J. Scott, S. Wood, C. Lauder, D. Mercer, J. Field.

Referee - Paul Lindsay (Walkerburn).