ERIN MCRITCHIE @ Braidholm
GHA head coach Trevor Carmichael said afterwards that this felt like a match which had slipped through his team’s fingers. It was an opportunity for the Briadholm men to leap-frog their opponents into the play-off places, but the tightness of this league means that the big concern now comes from looking over their shoulder at the the threat of being sucked back into the relegation dog-fight.
“I think Selkirk overall deserved to win,” said Carmichael. “We had three or four missed tackles that gave away tries. Our discipline at times gave away a few penalties. So, it was a hard one to take but it was a good game of rugby. It was just frustrating a wee bit. We were probably 10 percent off where we want to be game-plan wise.”
Selkirk enjoyed the early possession with Scott McClymont more than handy at the breakdown to garner the Borderers a couple of turnovers, but it was the home side that were first on the scoreboard from a penalty directly in front of the posts by winger Adam Scott.
The hosts added to their lead quickly with a powerful scrum allowing quick release along the backline for a move which ended with Ruairi O’Keefe scoring in the corner. With the conversion unsuccessful it was now 8-0.
Selkirk responded strongly and took advantage of GHA losing Michael Fox to the sin-bin for a high tackle, turning on the pressure, and eventually Ewan MacDougall battered his way home, with stand off Aaron McColm adding the extras.
The half came to a rather contentious end when referee Fergus Hollins had to give both captains a stern warning about their general discipline. It seemed that discussion had gone in one ear and out the other, though, as just 33 seconds after emerging from the tunnel for the second half, Selkirk’s Peter Forrest was shown a yellow card, again for a high tackle.
Despite being reduced to 14 men, it was the visitors who took control of possession and remained calm to work through the phases, before Josh Welsh burst onto a well-timed pass to break through two tackles and touch down just right of the posts. McColm added the extras and then kicked a penalty after some ruck indiscipline from the home side.
GHA bit back through Scott going over in the corner which brought it back to a four point game, but Selkirk looked the hungrier in the closing stages, holding onto the ball for a fair while, and with replacements Bruce Riddell and Ross Nixon both putting in some strong carries – but they had to settle for a 79th minute penalty which killed the game off.
GHA: A Gillman; R O’Keefe, G Mollison, A Hughes, A Scott; J MacKinnon, G Baird; S Carson, H Clark, M Fox, A Barnett, J McCarthy, M Marinkovic, M Ryan, L McCutcheon. Subs: L Barron, T Brogan, E Hardie, J Anderson, A Lamb.
Selkirk: R Cottrell; F Anderson, J Welsh, L Berte, N Armstrong; A McColm, L Merolle; L Pettie, P Forrest, S Rankin, A Renwick, D Nichol, J Mackay, S McClymont, E MacDougall. Subs: M Francis, B Riddell, A Mackay, L Martin, R Nixon.
Referee: F Hollins.
GHA: Tries: O’Keefe, Scott. Pens: Scott.
Selkirk: Tries: MacDougall, Welsh. Cons: McColm 2. Pens: McColm 2.
Scoring sequence (GHA first): 3-0; 8-0; 8-5; 8-7 (h-t) 8-12; 8-14; 8-17; 13-17; 13-20.
Yellow cards –
Man of the Match: Selkirk stand-off Aaron McColm played a decisive role in Selkirk’s windy kicking all but one of the team’s penalties and converting both tries. He was also commanding in both defence and attack.
Talking point: GHA need to address their ball handling issues because while they have proven time and again this season that they are a dangerous outfit in attack, you can’t score tries if you don’t have possession.