Premiership: Selkirk power to victory over Jed-Forest

A dominant performance by visitings forwards, bolstered by a strong bench showing, secures win

From left to right, Ross Nixon, Callum Anderson. Ben Pickles and Kieran Clark were on the winning side for Selkirk versus Jed-Forest. Image: John Smail
From left to right, Ross Nixon, Callum Anderson. Ben Pickles and Kieran Clark were on the winning side for Selkirk versus Jed-Forest. Image: John Smail

Jed-Forest 9

Selkirk 21

ALAN LORIMER @ Riverside Park

SELKIRK made sure they had learned the lessons from last week’s drawn match by playing to their forward strength in the second half to overcome a Jed-Forest side which had been forced into changes for last night’s clash at Riverside. 

The visitors were already beginning to dominate the forward exchanges when they brought on their replacements, the effect of which was significant both in the set-piece and in the loose play. The recast Selkirk pack snuffing out any residual Jed resistance in the final quarter.

Arguably, Jed could feel aggrieved at having at least three scores chalked off, two for the ball being held up over the line, a third for a forward pass and a fourth after the referee had positioned himself to the advantage of the attacking side.

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Tactically, Selkirk were more attuned to what was required to win than Jed.  “It’s handy when you’ve played them six days ago” observed Scott Wight, the Selkirk coach, pleased with his side’s defence. “It’s a great character-builder for us not to concede a try in the whole game. We went down to 12 men when Ross Nixon went to the sin-bin, but the boys were outstanding in defence.”

As to the quality and strength of the bench, Wight said: “We’ve got guys back from injury now and we’ve got a strong 20 man squad. Pleasing thing for us was that we had 47 boys out training this week. So to pick from this number means there’s lot of competition for places”.

Sadly for Jed the opposite is true. “We were forced into making six changes for today,” stated home coach, Scott Tomlinson. “We’re struggling a bit with personnel and had to field a lighter pack.We started off in the second half playing with pace and purpose and got points, but we made mistakes thereafter. We gave them possession and they controlled the tempo”

The half-time score of 3-6, two penalties by Selkirk’s Callum Anderson to one by Jed’s Gary Munro, might suggest a less than action-packed first half but that would be to discount several  thrilling handling moves, met with defences that were both fast engaging and punishing in execution.

Of the two sides, it would have been Jed that felt short changed by the scoreboard, having been held up over the line after a series of close range surges by the forwards and then just on half-time having failed to finish accurately after Gregor Young had broken through midfield. That the Jed skipper was denied a try was down to a timely tackle by the Selkirk full-back Kieran Clark, the defensive highlight of the first half. Young, however,  still managed to pass out of the tackle to wing Aidan Bambrick only for the ball to then be held up over the line.


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Jed’s determination to serve up quick-ball and play with pace at the start of the second half brought points but only a second penalty goal for Munro to level the scores. Shades of last weekend? Well, no. Selkirk replied by turning up the heart in the forward battle to secure a maul try credited to Nixon after the centre had joined the moving mass.

A third penalty by Munro narrowed Selkirk’s lead to just two points but again the visitors used the maul to pile on more points, this time James Bett the scorer. Replacement scrum-half Scott Clark added the conversion for an 18-9 advantage.

When Nixon was carded it seemed that Jed would take advantage of the absence of Selkirk’s defensive lynchpin. Bizarrely, the home team tried to use their lighter forwards to batter their way over their opponents’  line when it seemed obvious they should have given the ball width and used their dangerous runners.

The one time Jed did penetrate the Selkirk defence resulting in Bambrick crossing in the corner, the score was disallowed for what must have been a marginal forward pass. It was that sort of day for home side. Then, to add salt to the wound, Anderson put the game out of reach with a forty meter penalty kick, the final points of the match.


Teams –

Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young©, R Marshall, A Bambrick; G Munro, N Stingl; G Paxton, F Scott, G Clarkson, D Wardrop, G Law, J Howe, B Roff, C Cowan. Subs: F Campbell, A Stewart, A Sweenie, E Lauder, R Nichol.

Selkirk: K Clark; J Welsh, B Pickles, R Nixon, C McNeill; C Anderson, J Hamilton; L Pettie, J Bett, B Riddell, P Forrest, T Brown, C Marshall, R Cook, E MacDougall© Subs: J Anderson, A Renwick, A Grant-Suttie, S Clark, F Anderson.

Referee: M Todd.


Scorers –

Jed-Forest: Pens: Munro 3.

Selkirk: Tries: Nixon, Bett; Con: Clark; Pens: C Anderson 3.

Scoring Sequence (Jed-Forest first): 0-3; 3-3; 3-6 (h-t) 6-6; 6-11; 9-11; 9-16; 9-18; 9-21.


Yellow cards –

Selkirk: Nixon.


Man-of-the-Match: Selkirk’s forward pack and the replacements deserve huge credit for their side’s win but it was the defensive contributions of full-back Kieran Clark that were decisive in checking Jed’s momentum at crucial times in the game and for that he is the man-of-the-match.

Talking point:  Selkirk are now beginning to look forward to fielding a side that can challenge in the Tennent’s Premiership. That will probably not be until after Christmas when the expectation is that backs Ryan Cottrell and Scotland amateur stand-off Aaron McColm will be back in action. For Jed, their struggle with injuries and a lack of depth in their squad is beginning to bite, so for the Riverside men the next few weeks will be a real challenge.

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About Alan Lorimer 368 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.


  1. Hello,

    We did have a photographer at Riverside on Friday night but due to unforeseen circumstances we did not have photos available at the time of publication. Knowing that Selkirk run a very good website, I took the liberty of pinching one from there so that we could get the story online, and as far as I’m concerned the one we used fitted the bill perfectly.
    I am going to contact John on Monday to thank him retrospectively for helping us out (even though he didn’t have much say in the matter!), and trust that he’s okay with my having taken the liberty of ‘borrowing’ one of his photos.

    I’m very proud of the photos on the website, which I believe really add to the overall offering, but we run this on a shoe-string and sometimes that means we have to compromise. It is my firm opinion that John’s photo was a perfectly suitable substitute once we realised we didn’t have a ‘live’ one from the match at the time of publication.

    David Barnes

    • David, take a bow – the quality of TOL’s photographic offering is consistently superb, indeed on a par with the excellent journalism from you and your associates!

  2. Well said Ron. I am normally the Selkirk photographer but I am currently laid low following surgery and the other photographer at the club was not available last Saturday or on Friday night. John kindly agreed to step in to insure we had images for the club website. If you check the Selkirk RFC website you will see his pics are very good and very well captioned.

  3. It has always been a pleasure to read the Offside Line match reports! I don’t get around much these days as my mobility has deteriorated in recent years. Informative reports with very little journalistic padding. Having an online presence that allows me and no doubt many others to keep in touch with the whole of Scottish rugby is something of a bonus. Maybe there is another site but I have until now been unable to find such detailed coverage. Before Covid raised its ugly head there was the ‘Scrum’but that has since ceased. Not really a surprise as most of the magazine was adverts for what I would term ‘expensive goods’. They continued online but I guess those companies suffered from the knock-on effects of Covid cutting their advertising budgets and hence ‘Scrum’ fell by the wayside?
    The Offside Line like ‘Scrum'(I see the Times newspaper has quickly bought the rights to use ‘Scrum’ for their coverage.) also had its faults too. None more so than is shown by today’s match report above. Not Alan Lorimer his contribution is on the mark! Who is on the picture desk at the Offside Line? Not a former sports photographer is my guess? As for the photographer I doubt he wanted the credit for that image? Before anyone gets on their high horse and criticises me. No, I am not a photographer. In my younger days, friends used to call me an artist but that was always after a lengthy visit to my local. If you catch my drift?
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A sports photographer should be capturing images that tell the story of at least some part of the match and relate to the written journalist’s report. ‘From left to right, Ross Nixon, Callum Anderson. Ben Pickles and Kieran Clark were on the winning side for Selkirk versus Jed-Forest’. The image detail is not exactly inspiring either? The ball is almost out of the frame. Did any of the players mentioned put it there? Did one of them catch it and score a try? They all appeared to be working hard running up the hill! Has the Selkirk pitch always been on a slope?
    Come on team! Surely the images could be better? If not why not just use a headshot of one of the players. At least it should be possible even with a phone to capture a player in focus?
    To sum up. I don’t critise John the photographer personally because he is probably just volunteering to support his club? However, I would expect the Offside Line to send a photographer to the match if the club can’t provide one.
    Is that a fair request or am I expecting too much? Maybe it is a case of paying the quality reporters but not the photographers?
    Please just show a decent image!

    • Robert, your comments about the admirable, knowledgeable & fair-minded Alan Lorimer are spot-on.

      Friday evening’s game was played at Jed’s excellent Riverside Park venue, not Philiphaugh. That said, the pic to which you refer could well have been snapped the previous weekend at Selkirk, when Jed were the visitors.

      If the caption beneath the pic is correct, the “photographer” to whom you refer is not a proper professional sports photographer, rather a long-time Selkirk buftie and former Selkirk-based newspaper editor / proprietor.

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