Premiership: late winner for GHA breaks Selkirk hearts

An appropriately flat end to a disappointing season for the hosts while victorious visitors look ahead with optimism

GHA celebrate victory at the final whistle of their match versus Selkirk. Image: Grant Kinghorn
GHA celebrate victory at the final whistle of their match versus Selkirk. Image: Grant Kinghorn

Selkirk 24

GHA 27

COLIN RENTON @ Philiphaugh

GHA preserved their hopes of a top six finish when they snatched a dramatic win and bagged five league points with an injury time score. For Selkirk it was a dismal finish to the campaign and one that left the home supporters wondering how they managed to squander what had looked like a winning lead. 

“I take my hat off to the boys for that effort in the second half. To come back and win that game at the death. It’s very pleasing,” said GHA coach Trevor Carmichael. “If we win next week we can get up to sixth. We would be quite happy with that. Top six was one of our goals and if things went well, top four was possible, but after the first half of the games, we realised that wasn’t going to happen.”

And he is confident that his squad can continue to evolve, adding: “We have been inconsistent at times. We’re good enough to beat most teams on our day. Overall, we’ve got momentum moving forward to next season. We’re in a good position.”

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Carmichael’s delight was in marked contrast to the gloom in the home camp, where Scott Wight was at a loss to explain the latest defeat in a campaign that has produced only three wins.

“The amount of territory and possession we’ve had, on another day we would have won,” he said. “That sums us up as a squad – there’s not a huge amount of confidence. We’re getting beat most weeks and that is reflected in the performance.

“We’re 24-15 up with 10 minutes to play and we’ve not got the confidence to go and score,” he added. “Unfortunately, we haven’t come away with the win, but we’ve got Premiership rugby next season and I suppose that’s the only positive we can take from the season.”

GHA owed the victory to a solid start and a strong finish. They raced from the blocks and their early pressure yielded a penalty which Adam Scott clipped over to open the scoring. They continued to press and things got tougher for Selkirk when they lost Ewan McDougall to the sin-Bin for a no-arms tackle. The home skipper was still serving his time on the sidelines as GHA extended their lead when Dario Young picked up recycled ball close to the line and dived over. Scott’s conversion took the tally into double figures.

Despite still operating a man short, Selkirk finally gained a foothold in the game and a spell in the ascendancy led to a penalty that was booted into touch. A drive from the ensuing line-out ended with Luke Pettie dotting down and Callum Anderson banging over the conversion from wide on the right.

Selkirk started to click and with Anderson and Ben Pickles looking sharp, the GHA defence began to appear stretched. McDougall atoned for his earlier misdemeanour when he crashed over from close range to edge his side ahead, with Anderson again adding the extras.

Selkirk’s dominant scrum produced a steady stream of penalties and that allowed the hosts to keep the visitors on the back foot. And by half time, they had extended the lead. Anderson booted a penalty into touch and Zen Szwagrzak applied the final touch after a powerful surge at the line-out.


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The bonus point try came in similar fashion, seven minutes after the restart. This time Andrew McColm was on hand to complete the task.

GHA had faded out of the game after their lively start, but they revitalised the contest when an interception and breakout from Charlie Lonergan and Max McFarlane took play to within striking distance of the home line where Sean Callaghan picked up recycled ball and stretched over.

Both sides squandered further scoring opportunities, before the visitors ensured a tight finish when Jack Bruce sent Scott Carmichael – son of the coach – scampering over for a try, converted by Scott that cut the deficit to two points.

And Selkirk contributed to their own downfall when a wayward pass in opposition territory allowed another breakaway that ended with Bruce sending Benoit Jouary in for the winning score.


Teams –

Selkirk: J Hamilton; C Young, B Pickles, R Nixon, A Penman; C Anderson, S Clark; L Pettie, B Riddell, Z Szwagrzak, C Turnbull, A McColm, J Bett, S McClymont, E MacDougall. Subs: R Cook, M Haldane, D Broatch, A McColm, E McVicker.

GHA: A Scott; B Jouary, C Lonergan, M MacFarlane, S Derrick; A Goudie, S Simpson; M Fox, A Falconer, B Boum, S Callaghan, J McCarthy©, A Kerr, D Ewing, J Bruce. Subs: S Fisher, M Ryan, S Carmichael, G Baird, L Bardelli.

Referee: K Allen


Scorers –

Selkirk: Tries: Pettie, McDougall, Szwagrzak, McColm; Cons: Anderson 2.

GHA: Tries: Ewing, Callaghan, Carmichael, Jouary; Cons: Scott 2; Penalty: Scott.

Scoring sequence (Selkirk first): 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 5-10; 7-10; 12-10; 14-10; 19-10 (h-t) 24-10; 24-15; 24-20; 24-22; 24-27.


Yellow card –

Jed-Forest: McDougall


Man-ot-the-Match: There were contenders among the Selkirk forwards and the GHA backs. The pace in the centres was crucial for GHA and Charlie Lonergan just edged out Max McFarlane as top man on the day.

Talking point: Selkirk will wonder how they managed to lose this game. They have been unlucky with injuries, but it was a dismal finale to a disappointing campaign and this was the performance of a team that is struggling for confidence.

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About Colin Renton 296 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!