BATTLING PERFORMANCE BY SELKIRK’S PLAYERS NOT ENOUGH TO TOPPLE THE LEAGUE LEADERS


Selkirk skipper Ewan MacDougall breaks upfield in Saturday’s Premiership game against Marr at Philiphaugh.

Back row forward Andrew McColm hits the line-out heights courtesy of lifters Luke Pettie and Thomas Brown.

Selkirk scrum-half Jack Hamilton throws out a pass to his waiting threequarter line following quick ruck ball.

Prop Joe Anderson does his level best to break through Marr’s defence, watched by team-mate Donald Nichol.


[Photos – GRANT KINGHORN PICS]


SELKIRK 10, MARR 19

IF a bonus point was awarded for grit and determination, then Selkirk’s gutsy display against Tennent’s Premiership leaders Marr at Philiphaugh on Saturday would surely have merited one.
As it was, the Souters came away with no tangible reward for their efforts, and now find themselves second-bottom of the league table, albeit with a couple of games in hand.
Head coach Scott Wight refused to use his side’s run of injuries as an excuse, focussing instead on the positives to be taken from the home team’s display.
“I couldn’t fault the boys’ work rate and effort,” he told the selkirkrfc.com website after the final whistle. “We definitely got a little bit of pride back today, and that’s the bar set for our season.
“I thought our forwards, from one to eight, stood their ground and went toe-to-toe with the opposition. Marr have a big, dominant pack and are top of the table for a reason. I thought we competed well throughout.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to hold on to the ball and build phases, and as a result we’ve come up short in the end.
“Marr put us under a huge amount of pressure for long periods in the game. They take their chances, and when they do get chances they’re clinical and finish them off.”
Turning to the club’s injury difficulties, Wight said that because of the long-term nature of some of the players’ knocks, the team was now ‘in it for the long haul’.
“The squad is obviously quite thin at the moment, so it’s important boys turn up each Tuesday and Thursday for training and that we all stick together.
“We’ve got another game at home next week, which is a huge opportunity for us to get back out on the pitch and focus on our next task.”
A bright start saw the home side take the lead from a fourth minute Scott Clark penalty, following a typically incisive break by Selkirk’s ‘Tinnis Typhoon’, Scott McClymont.
A scything tackle by McClymont shortly afterwards, just as the visitors were beginning to build up a head of steam, epitomised Selkirk’s resistance, with Andrew McColm then stealing Marr line-out ball to thwart another attack.
Marr’s pressure remained unrelenting, however, and it came as no surprise when skipper Connor Bickerstaff materialised on the blind side of a ruck five metres from the home line to dive over in the corner for the game’s opening try.
A missed tackle then allowed Marr to once again flood into Selkirk’s 22, but Callum McNeill’s timely call for a mark allowed the home team to clear their lines.
Two minutes before halftime Selkirk hooker James Bett received a yellow card for repeated infringement at the ruck, and the interval came with Marr holding on to their 5-3 lead.
The hosts suffered another setback just after the break when centre Ross Nixon had to retire with a groin strain, allowing Lewis Martin to come off the replacements bench and team up with Ben Pickles in midfield.
Marr once again started to ramp up the pressure, and despite passing up a couple of scoring chances, lock David Andrew scored the visitors’ second try in the 53rd minute, converted by Calum Inglis, to put them 12-3 ahead.
Two kickable penalty chances were then turned down by Selkirk in favour of a line-out and quick tap, but both options failed to penetrate Marr’s sold defence.
A second try by Connor Bickerstaff in the 74th minute put the game beyond the home side’s reach, although Selkirk’s returning skipper, Ewan MacDougall, had the final say deep in injury time when he took Jack Hamilton’s pop-pass to scramble over for a try, supported by Frazer Anderson. Scott Clark’s successful conversion was the game’s final play.
The Four Seasons Forestry Selkirk ‘Man of the Match’ award went to Ben Pickles.
SELKIRK: C. Anderson, F. Anderson, B. Pickles, R. Nixon, C. McNeill, S. Clark, J. Hamilton, L. Pettie, J. Bett, B. Riddell, T. Brown, D. Nichol, A. McColm, S. McClymont, E. MacDougall. Replacements – J. Anderson, K. Thomson, A. Cochrane, C. Young, L. Martin.
MARR: G. Montgomery, S. Bickerstaff, J. Shedden, C. Bickerstaff, J. Scott, C. Inglis, S. Broad, B. Sweet, C. McMillan, W. Farquhar, D. Andrew, H. Murray, F. Grant, R. Brown, B. Johnston. Replacements: S. Adair, G. Reid, K. McCulloch, S. McDonald, I. Turaga.

Referee: Samuel O’Neil (SRU).

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