WINDS OF FORTUNE BLOW HOT AND COLD AS LAST-GASP CONVERSION EARNS DRAW FOR JED-FOREST

Referee Ross Mabon signals a try as Selkirk’s utility forward Peter Forrest powers his way over the line.

Ben Pickles sprints home for Selkirk’s second try, with team-mates James Bett & Josh Welsh in support.

Jed skipper Gregor Young prepares to pass to his brother Lewis, watched by Selkirk’s Callum Marshall.

Just short – the home forwards are unable to find a way past Jed’s resolute try-line defence.

Callum Anderson chips the ball past Jed fly-half Ross Nichol, with Selkirk’s Ross Nixon, Ben Pickles and Kieran Clark all ready to give chase.

[Photos – JOHN SMAIL]

SELKIRK 10, JED-FOREST 10

THE saying "It ain't over till it's over" may have originated in American baseball, but it perfectly encapsulated this Tennent’s Premiership nail-biter between local rivals Selkirk and Jed-Forest at windswept Philiphaugh on Saturday.
Having successfully managed to repel the visitors’ efforts in the first half to harness the elements and take a narrow interval lead, Selkirk looked ideally placed to ramp up the pressure after the break.
However, a combination of great scramble defence by Jed and a failure by the hosts to convert several try-scoring opportunities, meant Selkirk found themselves desperately defending their own line in the game’s final seconds to hold on to their 10-3 advantage.
A series of pick-and-go drives by the Jed forwards eventually saw centre Rory Marshall force his way over for a try, and with the final kick of the game, scrum-half Gary Munro added the conversion to tie the scores.
Throughout a fiercely contested match, Selkirk looked to have the greater control and, barring some early line-out misfires, kept the Riverside men in check.
Even when hooker James Bett headed to the sidelines with a nasty eye injury that required six stitches, the Philiphaugh team managed to keep its shape.
A 32nd minute penalty by Gary Munro put Jed 3-0 ahead, but straight afterwards Selkirk replacement Peter Forrest capitalised on some sustained home pressure on the visitors’ line to dive over for the game’s first try.
A long-range penalty attempt by Munro on the stroke of halftime fell short, giving Selkirk a 5-3 lead as the teams headed for their dressing rooms.
After the interval most of the play took place in the Jed half, but in spite of their ascendancy Selkirk found the Riverside men a tough nut to crack.
The best chance came when quick scrum ball saw Kieran Clark beat the cover on a swift touchline break, but his inside pass to Andrew Grant-Suttie didn’t go to hand.
Eventually Ben Pickles extended the home side’s lead by collecting Ross Nixon’s pass to scamper in for a try in the left-hand corner.
A yellow card for Jed‘s Ben McNeill didn’t help the visitors’ cause, but despite being a man down the visitors’ never-say-die attitude saw them regroup and work their way up the field for Rory Marshall’s dramatic stoppage time score and Munro’s successful conversion.
After the final whistle, Selkirk head coach Scott Wight admitted it had been ‘a tough pill to swallow’. “I said to the players after the game that we should never have been in that situation.
“We were the dominant team and played all the rugby down in their territory, but errors let us down at crucial moments. Fair play to Jed, they held on to the ball at the end for 10 to 12 phases and the boy kicked the conversion.
“We’ll now regroup and go again at Riverside on Friday night.”
Jed head coach Scott Tomlinson, a former Selkirk player and captain, said afterwards that on balance Selkirk were the better team, but that his players deserved huge credit for a great defensive effort.
“Everyone stuck to their task, and full marks go to our players for the patience and control they were able to show in the build-up to that final try.”
The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to lock forward Callum Marshall.
SELKIRK – K. Clark, J. Welsh, B. Pickles, R. Nixon, C. McNeill, C. Anderson, J. Hamilton, L. Pettie, J. Bett, B. Riddell, C. Marshall, T. Brown, R. Cook, S. McClymont, E. MacDougall. Replacements: R. Reilly P Forrest, A. Renwick, A. Grant-Suttie, A. Bulman.
JED-FOREST – L. Young, M. Cullen, Gregor Young, R. Marshall, R. Shirra-Gibb, R. Nichol, G. Munro, G. Paxton, F. Campbell, P. Ferreira, D. Wardrop, G. Law, B. Roff, C. Cowan, B. McNeill. Replacements: F. Scott, T. Jeffrey, E. Lauder, J. Howe, M. Russell.

Referee: Ross Mabon (SRU)
***

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM SELKIRK v JED 6/11

(Video highlights courtesy of Borders Rugby TV)

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