Selkirk 27 GHA 21
GHA arrived at Philiphaugh well aware of the fact that on eight previous attempts the Braidholm side had failed to register a victory at the Border’s ground. A beautiful day greeted all arriving at the ground although a biting cold wind blew down the pitch from the town end. There was a romantic twist to events as the club prepared to host the engagement party of Jock Renwick and his fiancee Zoe after the match. I know everyone at Braidholm will wish them both a long and happy partnership.
Both sides prepared carefully in what was becoming an increasingly cold day. Selkirk kicked off with a short kick which was knocked on. Balls being knocked on, passes spilled and moves rendered redundant as a result was to become a feature of the afternoon. From the scrum Jamie McCarthy attempted to take play forward. A boot forward was gathered by the Selkirk defence and a huge kick from Rory Banks took play up to the GHA twenty two metre area. Selkirk were employing a mixture of catch and drive, recycling and ball through hands as well as delightful little chips behind the GHA defence which forced the visitors on the back foot.Despite the pressure from the home side, GHA stood firm and indeed looked to move the ball quickly when in possession. Several times possession was won and lost by both teams which tended to result in an untidy platform for both sides. With Selkirk pressing after five minutes and a huge break by Donald Nichol a loose pass was intercepted superbly by James Edgar who sprinted from his own half, outpacing the Selkirk rearguard to score. Murray Houston converted to make the score : SELKIRK 0 GHA 7.
The visitors have been in this position in a number of matches and it would be revealing to note if the Braidholm side could hold on to the lead.Selkirk were awarded a penalty inside the GHA twenty two metre area and elected to attempt to convert the penalty. The attempt failed and GHA were able to regroup. Immediately Donald Nichol broke into space dismissing several attempts to tackle him as he was roared on by the home support.Peter Forrest in support knocked on with a gap emerging. The visitors were awarded a free kick which was quickly taken. The visitors were moving the ball with pace aided by a thundering drive by Scott Carson ably supported by messrs Fox and Scott. A clever break by Aaron Purewal and Grant Mollison took play up to the Selkirk twenty two metre area.The visitors as we reached the twenty minute mark were growing in confidence and were asking questions of the Selkirk defence. In the twenty second minute an excellent break by Max MacFarlane took him through an initial gap and his tenacity allowed him to break several despairing tackles to go over and score. The try was converted and the score was now: SELKIRK 0 GHA 14.
The home side stung by this reversal quickly went on the attack from the restart and forced the GHA side back . A clever angular kick took play up to the GHA five metre line. Selkirk stole the line out ball and a superb and carefully weighted cross field kick allowed Fraser Anderson to collect and go over to loud celebrations amongst the Souters. The try was converted and the score after twenty eight minutes was: SELKIRK 7 GHA 14.
As we moved towards half time both sides struggled to gain momentum the play being disrupted by spilt passes, knock ons and poor decisions. Selkirk put in an enormous effort towards the interval and the visiting side were doing all they could to prevent their line being breached again. The home side continued to vary their plan of attack which had the GHA defence turning and on the back foot at times. Just on the forty minute mark with Selkirk pressing on the GHA five metre line, a catch and drive allowed the home side to slip the ball to Scott McClymont who went over to score.Scott Clark converted and the score at the interval was: SELKIRK 14 GHA 14.
It had been a fast and furious first half with both sides attempting to run the ball at every opportunity. Both sides were guilty of handling errors which only added to the sense of frustration in the stands.
The second half began with Selkirk taking play up to the GHA ten metre area.For several minutes the ball was kicked between both sides with little advantage and the minutes were peppered by knock ons and passes failing to go to hand. Both sides were trying in very cold conditions to establish a platform but efforts were negated by a failure to secure tidy ball. As play moved up and down the pitch, Selkirk were awarded a penalty just inside the GHA ten metre line. The home side elected to kick for goal. An excellent kick gave Selkirk the lead and the score after fifteen minutes of the half was now: SELKIRK 17 GHA 14.
This kick seemed to instill a new confidence in the home side who began to vary the angle of their attack against the visitors. As we moved towards the half hour a frantic defensive shield just prevented an incursion by Selkirk although Ben Addison was yellow carded. Selkirk patiently decided on a scrum and from excellent quick ball a lovely sweeping move allowed Callum McColm to score. The try was converted and after considerable effort the visiting side now found themselves staring at a scoreboard which read: SELKIRK 24 GHA 12.
In an astonishing final ten minutes, the visitors took the game to Selkirk who suddenly seemed shocked at the intensity of the GHA onslaught. In a desperate attempt to stop the visitors scoring, try hero Callum McColm was yellow carded and the GHA side awarded a penalty try. With minutes left the tension was palpable as both sides attempted to attack.In the thirty seventh minute, GHA were adjudged to have crossed in midfield which gave a penalty award to Selkirk. From half way Rory Banks hit an excellent kick to secure the win for SElkirk. The final score was ;SELKIRK 27 GHA 21.
It had been an untidy match with a number of errors. However both sides continued to attempt to play running rugby and neither side was able to build a platform for long periods which added to the excitement and drama of the match.
SELKIRK: J.WELSH ND.CLAPPERTON R.NIXON F.ANDERSON R.BANKS S.CLARK L.PETTIE J. BETT J.ANDERSON A.MACkAY P.FORREST S.NIXON D.NICHOL S.McCLYMONT B.RIDDELL A.RENWICK C.MacDOUGALL C.McCOLM H.BITHRAY C.HIGGINS
GHA: G.MOLLISON J.EDGAR A.PUREWAL M.MAcFARLANE B.ADDISON R.McCORKINDALE A;KERR J.SUTHERLAND J.MCCARTHY S.MULHOLLAND L.BARRON S.FISHER F.FAULDS S.DERRICK C.KING.
REFEREE: MR R MABON
ASSISTANT REFEREES: MR G. GALASHAN MR D PINE