DAVID BARNES @ Philiphaugh
DESPITE his side consolidating their position in the league’s fourth play-off slot with a comprehensive six-tries-to-one victory over their Border rivals, Selkirk head coach Scott Wight was not exactly punching the air with delight when he spoke soon after the final whistle.
“There was a little bit frustration in the team huddle we just had because we probably created a few more chances that we should have converted, and it would have been good to have a goal-kicker early on which would have helped us score a few more points,” he said.
“Last week against Glasgow Hawks, we complemented each other really well with the forwards doing all the hard work and the backs really clicking in terms of scoring all five tries, whereas this week we had a strong set-piece but then switched off.
“Getting turned over first-phase a couple of times is just not good enough, not accurate enough, if we want to keep pushing to finish in the top four,” Wight added. “Having said all that, I would have taken a 3-0 win before kick-off tonight, so to get all five points and score six tries is excellent.”
Selkirk’s totally dominant scrum was key to setting the tone early on, with the hosts shoving their opponents off the ball in the fourth minute to create the possession and momentum for Alan Ferrie to burst over for the opening try.
And they really should have increased their scoreboard advantage around the 10 minute mark when they twice earned set-piece penalties but opted for a quick tap to no avail instead of packing down a third time, and when they got another attacking scrum 10 yards from Jed’s line a few minutes later, a mix-up at the base led to control of the ball being lost.
Having weathered the storm, Jed battled their way into Selkirk territory for the first time as the clock ticked past 20 minutes, and came away with a bounty of three points plundered by the trusty right boot of hooker Finlay Scott following a home offside.
Selkirk went back to their strength, squeezing the set-piece, and powering their way to a second try, once again scored by Ferrie, with Aaron McColm‘s conversion coming back off the right post.
In an effort to stop Selkirk’s unrelenting progress, Jed sent on the formidable frame of Paulo Ferriera at tight-head prop, and the visiting scrum did begin to get some purchase on the sodden Philphaugh turf, but the home side remained well on top, and Luke Pettie burrowed over for try number three with just a few minutes of the half left.
The home bonus-point was wrapped up within five minutes of the restart with outside-centre Josh Welsh demonstrating that the Selkirk backline can pose a threat as well as their powerful forwards by jinking clear on Jed’s 22 and trotting home unchallenged, with Craig Jackson taking over kicking duties to add the extras.
Jed struck back midway through the second half with some determined forward play followed by two long passes which sent Mason Cullen over on the right, and Scott fired home the touchline conversion – but it proved to be a dead cat bounce.
Scott McClymont emerged clutching the ball when a deluge of white Selkirk shirts piled between the kindling, with Jackson once again slotting the easy conversion, and with five minutes left replacement hooker Russell Anderson got in on the act, bursting through a weak tackle in the middle of the park and thundering home from 20 yards unchallenged.
“We struggled to get a foothold in the game at all really, and when we did we weren’t clinical enough and gave ball up too easily,” reflected Jed head coach Andy Brown. “I don’t think that was a fair reflection of the progress we believe we have made and how performances have been going.
“There was a few changes but it’s not like we were bringing in anyone new to the mix, it bis all lads who have played together for several years, so I don’t know whether it was two big games within six days of each other, there was obviously a lot of hype around the Hawick game and maybe we have to look at how we manage the emotion of amateur sport.
Selkirk: R Cottrell; L Ferguson, J Welsh (C Anderson 78), R Nixon, B Pickles (C Anderson 57); C Jackson, Aaron McColm (J Hamilto 66); L Pettie, B Riddell (Z Szwagrak 60), Z Szwagrak (J Bett 41), J Head (A Cochrane 57), Andrew McColm, A Ferrie (R Anderson 60), S McClymont, M Job.
Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young, R Yourston, R Shirra-Gibb (O Cranston 60); J Mcgough (R Ferreira, 53), A Bambrick (G Munro 21); G Paxton, F Scott, G Clarkson (P Ferriera 36), D Wardrop, C Skeldon, E Lauder, K Grieve (A Sweenie 60), Garry Young.
Referee: Ross Mabon
Selkirk: Tries: Ferrie 2, Pettie, Welsh. McClymont, Anderson; Con: Jackson 3.
Jed-Forest: Try: Cullen; Con: Scott; Pen: Scott.
Scoring sequence (Selkirk first): 5-0; 5-3; 10-3; 15-3 (h-t) 20-3; 22-3; 22-8; 22-10; 27-10; 29-10; 34-10; 36-10.
Man-of-the-Match: The home scrum set the tone early on, and loose-head prop Luke Pettie was key to that platform, playing all 80 minutes, contributing in the loose, and scoring a try for good measure.
Talking point: It wasn’t a huge crowd at Philiphaugh, and the soggy conditions perhaps contributed to neither team quite hitting their stride, but there is something special about ‘Friday Night Lights’, so perhaps the Premiership should look to make such games a more regular feature on the league schedule.