A second successive bonus point win ensured Selkirk got their season back on track at Philiphaugh on Saturday.
Even so, head coach Alistair Dickson believes the Souters still have a lot of ground to make up in their RBS National League campaign.
“We’ve definitely turned a corner,” he said after the victory, “but no-one’s kidding themselves about the size of the challenge we now face.
“Consistency is going to be the key factor over the next few weeks, and the players know they’ve got to build on these two wins if the team is going to be able to mount a serious challenge to the league leaders.”
All the early pressure came from the visitors, however, and when John Coutts intercepted home skipper Ross Nixon’s pass in the fourth minute, the ex-Hawick player was able to sprint towards the posts before giving a scoring pass to fellow centre David Hampton. Nick McCashin, slotted a 21st minute penalty to put the city side 8-0 ahead.
Selkirk regrouped, and put their first points on the board when Craig and James Bett both made inroads into the visitors’ defence and Lee Kibble’s angled run saw the centre smash past two defenders to touch down. Josh Welsh’s conversion cut the deficit to a single point.
The hosts took the lead on the half-hour mark when prop Cata Graur took a tap penalty to himself and barrelled over the line for a try.
The same player found himself on the scoresheet once again after Ewan MacDougall and Matt Kissick had combined to send wing Darren Clapperton racing for the line.
Although stopped, Selkirk’s pack kept up the pressure and Graur was on hand to touch down. Welsh converted.
On the stroke of half time Selkirk stuck a decisive blow when Fraser Harkness, showing his versatility when playing in the unfamiliar position of scrum half, raced 70 metres to score a superb solo try.
Welsh’s conversion made the interval score Selkirk 28 Stewart’s Melville FP 8.
After the break Selkirk kept up the pressure and a Welsh penalty extended Selkirk’s lead before a two-try scoring burst by Selkirk open side, Angus Duckett, had the home supporters in raptures.
Welsh kept up his 100 per cent goal-kicking record to add the conversions and put the Philiphaugh men out of sight.
To their credit Stewart’s Melville continued to press hard right up to the final whistle, their endeavour being rewarded with tries by Scott Brewster and David Hampton, the former being converted by Sam Rowlands.
Selkirk: J. Welsh; S. Hendrie, L. Kibble, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton; G. Craig, F. Harkness; G. Patterson, J. Bett, C. Graur, R. Fluhler, E. Turner, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, M. Kissick. Subs: G. Turner, A. Lambie, R. Wilson, S. Tough.