ALAN LORIMER @Riverside
SELKIRK maintained what is increasingly looking like a successful bid to finish in the top four of the Tennent’s Premiership by adding a further four championship points to their tally after defeating a Jed-Forest side that had chances to win the game.
Four points could have been five for Selkirk and indeed the four try bonus dividend might also have come Jed’s way such was the closeness of the game and the desire of both sides to run the ball.
Scott Wight, the Selkirk coach, however, was not mourning the loss of an extra championship point. “We scored two tries in the first half so the bonus point was always on, but we struggled for ball in the second half,” he said. “We never managed to get a real foothold in the game. We were down to 13 men at one point but we weathered the storm well. I think if you come to Jed and win and score 28 points you’ve got to feel positive.”
The Selkirk coach continued: “Jed produced a backlash from last week. I thought they were physical and they were good around the contact. What defined the game for us however was a big defensive set towards the end of the game. We held them out and then had a big exit.”
For Wight’s opposite number, Andy Brown, there was the bitter taste of zero points from the game. “We were very disappointed at not getting any points out of that,” he said. “The penalty at the end meant we got nothing. We put ourselves in a position to win the game and should have won it. We had enough territory and possession but we weren’t clinical enough nor patient enough in their 22. In hindsight it’s a game we should have won.”
In truth there was little between the teams. Both fielded strong back divisions and both were prepared to use their pace men. In the end, the difference perhaps came down to relatively recent Super6 experience gained by several of the Selkirk team and the more distant S6 acumen of Craig Jackson at stand-off.
Selkirk, keen to continue where they left off last weekend, were quickly into their stride and after showing patience going through the phases, the visitors pierced the Jed armour with an initial half break by Jackson before Lachlan Ferguson delivered the inside scoring pass to Jack Hamilton, albeit the scrum-half did a juggling act before controlling the ball and then dashing in under the pasts.
Jackson converted but Selkirk had barely time to celebrate before Jed struck with a handling move that included two long miss passes, creating room for Robbie Shirra-Gibb to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try.
If that felt like a bit of shock therapy for Selkirk then the voltage was soon to be increased. From the restart Jed won possession and when the ball was moved wide Lewis Young sucked in enough defenders to provide space for the nimble-footed Mason Cullen to run in his side’s second try, successfully converted by Finlay Scott.
A penalty goal by Jackson brought Selkirk to within two points of Jed and thereafter the first half play was all about satisfying the visitors’ voracious appetite for another score, ultimately achieved through a powerful run by Alan Ferrie that brought his side into the red zone.
When Jed were penalised for stemming a Selkirk attack illegally, Jackson kicked to the corner and from the ensuing line-out the visitors’ forwards went through two driving phases before Ferrie surged in for a try, coolly converted by Jackson for a 17-12 half time lead.
The second 40 was marked by a near inevitable stramash that resulted in yellow cards for Jed’s Dom Buckley and Selkirk’s Luke Pettie. Selkirk chose to kick to the corner and from the resultant line-out Ferrie piled over for his second try of the match.
Having incurred one yellow card, Selkirk added to their collection when Callum Anderson was judged to have committed a deliberate knock-on when attempting to quell a Jed attack. Jed quickly made their 14 versus 13 advantage tell with a try by Garry Young off a five metre scrum, Scott’s conversion narrowing Selkirk’s lead to three points.
A second penalty by Jackson reopened the six point gap and when the stand-off hit a third shot off the tee it was now a two score lead for Selkirk, the nine point difference ultimately proving to be the winning margin and crucially for Jed sufficient to deny the home side a losing bonus point.
Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young, R Yourston, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, A Bambrick; G Paxton, F Scott, P Ferreira, D Wardrop, C Skeldon©, Garry Young, B McNeil, D Buckley. Subs: G Clarkson, A Sweenie, J Mcgough, O Cranston, C Young.
Selkirk: Aaron McColm©; L Ferguson, B Pickles, R Nixon R Cottrell; C Jackson, J Hamilton; L Pettie©, B Riddell, Z Szwagrak, A Ferrie, Andrew McColm, R Anderson, S McClymont, M Job. Subs: J Bett, K Thomson, A Cochrane, E McVicar, C Anderson.
Referee: David Young
Jed-Forest: Tries: Shirra-Gibb, Cullen, Garry Young; Cons: Scott 2
Selkirk: Tries: Hamilton, Ferrie 2; Cons: Jackson 2; Pens: Jackson 3.
Scoring Sequence (Jed-Forest first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 10-7; 12-7; 12-10; 12-15; 12-17 (ht) 12-22; 17-22; 19-22; 19-25; 19-28.
Yellow cards –
Selkirk: Pettie, Anderson
Man-of-the-Match: A huge number of contenders for the accolade such as Craig Jackson, Mason Cullen, and Clark Skeldon but in such a tight game it was the less glamorous work of Selkirk’s back-row Scott McClymont that did much to give his side the nudge towards victory.
Talking point: A Border derby match rarely disappoints and this was no exception. Two sides eager to run the ball produced a spectacle and a match that could have gone either way. But in the end Selkirk by defending well and making shrewd decisions towards the end of the match claimed the four points on offer.