Heriot's FP 44, Selkirk 20

After encouraging start, Selkirk lose their way in second half as Heriot's prove too hot to handle

IND THE GAP. Selkirk skipper Michael McVie prepares to take on opposite number Graham Wilson in Saturday's match against Heriot's FP at Goldenacre. Team-mate Andrew Renwick gets ready to lend a hand. (Photo: Grant Kinghorn)

TRAILING by just 23 points to 20 with under 15 minutes left on the clock, it looked as though Selkirk might spring a surprise at Goldenacre on Saturday. Unfortunately for the large number of visiting supporters around the ground, it was the Heriot's players who showed the greater passion and commitment in the final quarter, leaving the Souters trailing in their wake with a brace of tries to kill off the contest.

This defeat means Selkirk slip back to third bottom place in Premier One, and with Boroughmuir and Watsonians both winning their matches on Saturday, it means Michael McVie's men simply have to win their home game against Watsonians on March 6 if they are going to have any chance of climbing out of the relegation zone.

Defence and discipline have been two areas of increasing concern for Selkirk in recent weeks, and on Saturday both of these qualities were found wanting. Heriot's players were far more aggressive in the tackle area, regularly knocking man and ball back several metres, while a proliferation of penalties and the game's only yellow card greatly reduced Selkirk's chances of success.

It took the home side just four minutes to open the scoring, a powerful run by Finlay Gillies taking play into the visitors' 22, where Mark Lee provided the link to send Colin Goudie over in the corner. Graham Wilson's conversion just strayed wide. To their credit Selkirk hit back immediately - Lee Jones celebrating his return to the team with a scything run through the home defence before putting Rory Aglen over for a try under the posts. David Cassidy converted to put Selkirk 7-5 ahead.

Ten minutes later Heriot's were back in front. A rare knock-on by Jones allowed the home side a foothold in Selkirk territory, and a sequence of penalties against the visitors close to their try line resulted in prop Alan Dymock being driven over from a line-out maul for his team's second try. This time Wilson's conversion kick sailed over.

A bout of aerial ping-pong ended when Michael McVie won a good touch just outside Heriot's 22, and when the ball went loose from the resultant line-out, Selkirk stand-off Gavin Craig cleanly gathered it and proceeded to dummy his way past a clutch of Heriot's defenders to touch down close to the posts. Cassidy's conversion put Selkirk 14-12 ahead.

Soon afterwards Wilson kicked a penalty to restore Heriot's lead, and just before halftime Selkirk received another setback when flanker Neil Darling was yellow-carded by the visiting Italian referee for a ruck infringement. Halftime score: Heriot's FP 15, Selkirk 14.

Another Wilson penalty stretched the home lead, before a bout of sustained Heriot's pressure inside Selkirk's 22 saw Mark Lee touch down the city side's third try. Two penalties from the boot of David Cassidy managed to keep Selkirk in touch at 23-20, but some loose kicks and indifferent first-time tackles saw Heriot's pumped-up players rattle the visitors with a three-try burst from Dymock, Goudie and Alston. Wilson converted all three to complete the visitors' misery. Final score: Heriot's FP 44, Selkirk 20.

SELKIRK - F. Harkness, D. Clapperton, D. Cassidy, S Hendrie, L. Jones, G. Craig, M. McVie, G. Patterson, D. Grieve, M. Murray, R. Aglen, S. Willet, N. Darling, C. Johnston, A. Renwick. Replacements: R. Nixon, J. Smyth, S. Forrest, R. Taylor, D. Moussa.

Referee - Marius Mitrea (Italy).