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.
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.
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.
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 –
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.