Premiership: depleted Selkirk undone by Edinburgh Accies

Iain Berthinussen's side reinforced their play-off credentials with first away win of the season

Edinburgh Accies scrum-half Ben Afshar gets the ball away. Image: Grant Kinghorn
Edinburgh Accies scrum-half Ben Afshar gets the ball away. Image: Grant Kinghorn

Selkirk 24

Edinburgh Accies 27

 

ALAN LORIMER @ Philiphaugh

EDINBURGH ACCIES achieved the breakthrough they sought with their first away win this season after subduing a dogged Selkirk side at Philiphaugh to secure a bonus-point victory. 

In a performance that was characterised by exciting back play partly developed on the Borders sevens circuit in recent seasons, Accies maximised their scoring chances with good support play, clever handling and lethal finishing that when it mattered overstretched Selkirk’s defence.

Accies’ final points tally of 27 has to be seen in the context of trailing 17-5 before the first quarter was completed despite causing a shockwave through the hosts’ supporters by scoring in the opening minute of play with a try engineered by Robbie Kent and support from Ben Ashfar and Jamie Loomes that gave Mark Sinclair an easy run to the try line.


This weekend’s other Premiership reports:

Premiership: Hawick make haste to secure win over Jed-Forest

Premiership: GHA downed by Glasgow Hawks in derby

Premiership: Currie Chieftains cruise to big win against Aberdeen Grammar

Premiership: Marr march on with big win over Musselburgh


But thereafter in the early part of the game Accies failed to build on the this bullet start. “Scoring so early was probably the worst thing that could have happened to us,” observed their head coach Iain Berthinussen, although he was ultimately delighted with the final outcome.

“We had a big monkey to get off our back and winning down here was great for us. Our game management at the end of the game was very good. I thought that some of our players stepped up massively today.

“We’re now getting a bit of depth and our twos won 55-0; so there is pressure coming from there. We’ve not had that for a long time. Puts pressure in training,” added the former Gala centre.

But in many ways Selkirk deserve huge plaudits. With injuries piling up like freight containers at British ports, the Philiphaugh side don’t have their troubles to seek. Yet in spite of being forced to field a clutch of second-team players, Selkirk were able to pressure Accies for much of the game and in scoring three tries they showed they have firepower even with depleted resources.

The lack of so many front-line players perhaps told most in how Accies were able to overtake Selkirk and then open a gap with two tries.

“There was a bit of a momentum shift just after the break. We probably didn’t play enough territory and Accies had us turning. We probably lost the kicking battle. The positive is that we got a bonus point,” suggested the Selkirk skipper Euan MacDougall.

He added: “We’re maybe up to seven boys light at the moment . It’s not an excuse but it would be good to get these players back. Probably three or four boys are just a couple of weeks away from returning so that could give us a massive lift”.

Selkirk certainly showed their mettle in the first half when they responded positively to the opening Accies try by Sinclairwith a period of sustained pressure that ended with a penalty goal by Scott Clark.

Then when Accies tried to push the ball too wide Ben Pickles accepted the invitation of an interception to sprint 60 metres for a try under the posts converted by Clark.

Minutes later Selkirk struck again as Luke Pettie, collecting a box kick from scrum-half Jack Hamilton, initiated a move that resulted, a few phases later, with a try in the corner from ex-Workington wing Andrew Bulman, Clarkadding the touchline conversion for a 17-5 lead.

Accies quickly turned the screw and when Jamie Loomes sliced through a scattered Selkirk defence, scrum-half Ben Ashfar was on hand to take the inside pass for a try under the posts converted by Loomes.

Selkirk appeared to have made the perfect response when Frazer Anderson escaped down the right wing before flicking a pass to Scott McClymont but sadly for Selkirk the hard-working flanker who otherwise had an excellent game, lost control of the ball in touching down.

 

Season Appeal 2022

We hope you are enjoying our unrivalled coverage of Scottish Rugby. While mainstream media continues to reduce its interest in the rugby family in Scotland, The Offside Line does its very best to make sure all levels of the domestic game are reported.

Our commitment to the game and sharing its stories means that we do not have a paywall, so we would ask you (only if you can!) to support The Offside Line, either with a one off donation, or with a monthly contribution.

We have been keeping Scottish rugby in the news since 2016 and will have 3 million page views this year, making The Offside Line first for Scottish rugby.

 

Accies looked sharp and dynamic after the break and quickly got their reward when Loomes broke through the defensive line to give centre Will Stephen a try to which Loomes added the extras for a 19-17 lead.

Then after Cole Imrie forced his way over the try-line for the bonus-point score, and Loomes kicked a penalty goal, victory seemed secure, only for Selkirk to stage a morale-lifting finish with a try by hooker Bruce Riddell from a passage of adventurous and committed play. Calum Anderson, who had supplied the scoring pass, then kicked the conversion.

Teams –

Selkirk: C McNeil; F Anderson, B Pickles, C Anderson, A Bulman; S Clark, J Hamilton; L Pettie, B Riddell, J Anderson, A McColm, T Brown, R Cook, S McClymont, E MacDougall©. Subs: R Purves, K Thomson, C Turnbull, I Martin, C Young.

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©. Subs: R Montgomery, G Stevenson, S Whittaker, J Troup, R Mill.

Referee: D Young.

 

Scorers –

Selkirk: Tries: Pickles, Bulman, Riddell.  Cons: Clark 2, Anderson. Pen: Clark.  

Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Sinclair, Ashfar, Stephen, Imrie.  Cons: Loomes 2. Pen: Loomes.

Scoring Sequence (Selkirk first): 0-5; 3-5; 8-5; 10-5; 15-5; 17-5; 17-10; 17-12 (h-t) 17-17; 17-19; 17-24; 17-27; 22-27; 24-27.

 

Man of the Match: In such a close game (score wise) there were many candidates for the man-of-the-match accolade but the one who stood out, because of vision in attack, his eye for the break and his control of the game in the second half with accurate territorial kicking was Accies stand-off Jamie Loomes.

Talking point: Accies have now proved they have what it takes to win away from home, albeit against an injury-hit Selkirk side. At Philiphaugh they showed both flair in attack and an ability to control the game when it mattered, suggesting that the Raeburn Place men can finish near or even at the top of the Tennent’s Premiership come the end of the season. As for Selkirk, they will have to await the return from injury of a clutch of top players. Then and only then will they be able to truly express themselves on the rugby field.


Edinburgh v Bulls: hosts ride their luck and weather a storm to pick up valuable win

About Alan Lorimer 195 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.