Selkirk 27, West of Scotland 20

Selkirk survive late bout of yellow fever to get Premier One show back on the road

NO-GO AREA. Selkirk wing Scott Hendrie finds himself sandwiched between two West players in Saturday's game at Philiphaugh, with Michael Rutherford adding some (vocal) support.

A MUCH improved all-round performance saw Selkirk return to winning ways at Philiphaugh on Saturday, overcoming a stuffy West of Scotland side to register their first home victory of the season.

Leading 27-3 with just 15 minutes of the match remaining, it looked as though Michael McVie's men were home and dry. However, two yellow cards in quick succession punctured the home team's bubble, with West scoring three quick-fire tries to set up a nail-biting finale.

"It did take a wee bit of the gloss off the victory," Selkirk coach Kevin Barrie admitted after the game, "and the players themselves know that their discipline has got to improve. That said, I thought we controlled the game for long periods before and after halftime, and when try-scoring opportunities presented themselves we took them well.

"It was vital we got a win to restore confidence following the Currie match, and that's exactly what the boys have done. There's still a long way to go, but we've now got something to build on, and the win has given our supporters a big lift. It's going to be tough against Ayr at Millbrae this weekend, but we know what to expect and will prepare accordingly."

Given the importance of Saturday's fixture at Philiphaugh, it was hardly surprising both Selkirk and West of Scotland made nervy, error-prone starts. The turning point came when a line-out near West's 22 saw Rory Aglen make a clean take and set up a rolling maul. The ball was transferred to Rob Taylor and eventually to Gordon Patterson, who was driven over the line by the home pack for Selkirk's opening try.

The only other scoring in the first half came from a penalty by Scott Hendrie, who had another outstanding afternoon with ball in hand, and from a penalty from West full-back Michael Sim, making the interval score 8-3 in the home team's favour.

To the home crowd's obvious delight, Selkirk then produced their most impressive passage of play, with number eight Scott Tomlinson using all his experience to keep the pressure on the visitors. This period of ascendancy resulted in tries for Callum Johnston - back to his best after six weeks out injured - Lee Jones and Gavin Craig. Hendrie added one conversion to put the Souters 27-3 ahead.

With 15 minutes left on the clock it looked all over for the Burnbrae men. However, back-to-back transgressions by Stuart Forrest and Neil Darling saw referee David Walker brandish yellow cards at both players. West needed no second invitation to exploit their superior numbers, with Ian McLaren, Michael Sim and danger man Richard Dalgleish crossing for tries. Sim added one conversion.

To their credit, Selkirk's players managed to hold their nerve and hang on for the final, frantic few minutes until the whistle eventually blew for no-side. Two wins from their last three games suggests the Selkirk players are finally finding their feet.

UP FOR GRABS. Selkirk skipper Michael McVie keeps opposite number Murray McConnell in check during Saturday's match against West, with team-mate Andrew Renwick ready to lend a hand. (Photos: Grant Kinghorn)

SELKIRK - J. Thompson, S. Hendrie, G. Craig, A. Dunbar, L. Jones, M. Rutherford, M. McVie, G. Patterson, D. Grieve, R. Taylor, R. Aglen, S. Willet, N. Darling, A. Renwick S. Tomlinson. Replacements: R. Armstrong, C. Johnston, M. Murray, D. Moussa, S. Forrest.

Referee - D. Walker (Irvine).