NO LACK OF EFFORT BY SPIRITED SELKIRK PLAYERS, BUT ACCIES’ ALL-ROUND STRENGTH TELLS IN THE END


Selkirk flanker Robert Cook hits the heights to win line-out ball in Saturday’s game against Edinburgh Accies.

Scrum-half Jack Hamilton does his best to escape the clutches of Accies hooker Fraser McAslan.

On the charge – Selkirk’s second row forward Thomas Brown goes all-out to get across the gain line.

Andrew Bulman scored a well-taken try on his debut appearance for Selkirk.

[Photos – GRANT KINGHORN PICS]


SELKIRK 24, EDINBURGH ACCIES 27

IT was another case of ‘so near, yet so far’ for Selkirk at Philiphaugh on Saturday, where Edinburgh Accies secured a narrow win after keeping up the pressure on their tiring hosts in the closing stages of the match.
The Raeburn Place side set their stall out as early as the second minute of the game, when a swift counter-attack saw strong-running centre Robbie Kent slip his marker and burst clear. The move was carried on by half-backs Ben Afshar and Jamie Loomes, allowing wing Mark Sinclair to score in the corner.
A Scott Clark penalty in the 11th minute helped calm Selkirk supporters’ nerves, before home centre Ben Pickles brilliantly picked off Loomes’ pass to William Stephen, racing clear from inside his own half for a classic interception try. Clark’s conversion put the Souters 10-5 ahead.
Selkirk increased their lead when quick ruck ball on the right saw Jack Hamilton feed Clark, who spun a long pass out to Callum Anderson, who in turn fed Ben Pickles.
Despite being tackled, the centre managed an awkward offload to Whitehaven newcomer Andrew Bulman, who from a standing start still managed to hand off opposite number Hamish James and dive over for a try on his debut for the club. Clark’s superb touchline conversion gave Selkirk a 17-5 lead.
Accies hit back when Loomis cut inside the home defence and coolly sent Ashfar over for a try close to the posts, which Loomes converted.
It looked as though Selkirk would score next when Frazer Anderson’s powerful touchline break was carried on by Scott McClymont, who sprinted over the line but under pressure from full-back Ben Appleson was adjudged to have lost control of the ball in the act of touching down.
At halftime Selkirk remained 17-12 ahead, but in the second half a rare Clark penalty miss allowed Accies to regroup and draw level. Loomes once again instigated the move, his offload to Finlay Simpson allowing the lock to feed Jamie Stephen for a simple score. Loomes’ conversion made it 17-17.
A close-range try by prop Cole Imrie and another Loomis penalty put the visitors two scores in front at 27-17, with the game entering its final quarter.
Refusing to let their heads drop, Selkirk’s players gradually worked their way into their opponents’ 22. A beautifully judged, floated pass by Callum Anderson missed out skipper Ewan MacDougall and found Bruce Riddell in space on the right.
The versatile front row forward clung on to the ball as if his life depended on it, and in spite of the best efforts of Accies full-back Appleson, managed to battle his way over the line for the hosts’ third try. Callum Anderson’s superb conversion cut the deficit to just three points.
That may have been the end of the scoring, but there was more drama to come deep in injury time. Winning possession in front of their own try line, Selkirk frantically tried to engineer a break upfield past the visitors’ blanket defence.
It almost cost them dear when a turnover gave Accies the sniff of a fifth try, but a knock-on signalled the final whistle.
The Four Seasons Forestry Selkirk ‘Man of the Match’ award went to Robert Cook.
Afterwards Selkirk forwards coach Darren Hoggan told the selkirkrfc.com website: “I thought we put in a good first half performance, and set a standard that we want to play at all year. We seemed to drop off it a wee bit in the second half and didn’t have enough ball.
“We know we’re missing key players but that’s no excuse. You have what you have and you just get on with it. I think we’ll improve and we’ll get better, but we weren’t clinical enough and didn’t take our chances when we had them. That’s pretty much been the story of our season so far.
“Right now it’s hard to take positives away from today. We did manage to get a bonus point, and it doesn’t look as though we picked up any injuries, so that’s a plus.”
SELKIRK:  C. McNeill, F. Anderson, B. Pickles, C. Anderson, A. Bulman, S. Clark, J. Hamilton, L. Pettie, B. Riddell, J. Anderson, T. Brown, A. McColm, R. Cook, S. McClymont, E. MacDougall. Replacements – R. Purves, K. Thomson, C. Turnbull, C. Young, L. Martin.
EDINBURGH ACCIES: B. Appleson, H. Janes, R. Kent, W. Stephen, M. Sinclair, J. Loomes, B. Afshar, C. Imrie, F. McAslan, C. Lacour, J. Mills, F. Simpson, C. Reid, M. Walker, R. Campbell. Replacements: R. Montgomery, G. Stevenson, S. Whittaker, J. Troup, R. Mill.

Referee – David Young (SRU).

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