RBS NATIONAL LEAGUE
FIONA SCOTT reports from Philiphaugh
PRIOR to this Borders derby clash Selkirk coach Brian Cassidy had said of his team’s prospects in the National League: “It’s not the size of your dog in the fight that matters, it’s the size of the fight in your dog.”
On Saturday, however, his words of wisdom almost came back to bite him on the backside as it turned out that both dogs were the same size and both had the same amount of fight.
Luckily for Cassidy, his was the team who left the field with their tails up after an 80-minute scrap that, at times, produced the odd howl of pain from both home and visiting supporters.
Nevertheless, it was the Selkirk boss himself that resembled a dog with two tails after his team picked up their first win in three games.
“At the end of the day we got the win and that’s what really matters to us,” he told TheSouthern.
“We knew exactly what to expect from Jed today and they fought their hardest, but we came through and that’s the main thing.
“There is so much fire goes into these games and that showed at the beginning when there were two or three missed chances due to over-eagerness leading to mistakes at the offload.
“If they had just showed some patience it would have made a big difference, but that’s club rugby for you and I’m just pleased to have the result.”
Playing on a glorious day at Philiphaugh, both teams were keen to stamp their authority on the game from the off.
In a scrappy opening half it was the visitors who took first blood with a penalty from Iain Chisholm putting them in front in only the second minute.
The hosts were quick to respond and some precision passing – a rarity in the match – along the line, resulted in Angus Duckett going in at the posts. Michael McVie slotted the easy conversion before adding penalty points from long range minutes later.
Things began to settle and stalemate ensued for a spell as the teams battled to get the upper hand. Jed won on that particular occasion and two penalties in as many minutes allowed Iain Chisholm to kick his team back to within a single point.
Worse was to come for the hosts as South African referee John van der Merwe lost patience with Selkirk’s indiscipline at the ruck and sent Ryan Crockatt to the sin bin. Chisholm kicked the resulting penalty and Jed went in front for the first time in the game.
Selkirk regained the lead just before the break when McVie popped over a similar effort, but all was left to play for as the teams turned around with the scores standing at 13-12 to the hosts.
Selkirk appeared rejuvenated after the restart, no doubt a result of some heavy-duty growling from Cassidy, and stretched the lead with a try from talented youngster Darren Clapperton, following a Ross Nixon break, converted by McVie.
Hackles were raised among the home crowd minutes later when Jed’s Robert Hogg collected a bounce on the halfway line and sprinted 50m to touch down with the opposition still waiting for the ref to signal a knock-on.
The signal was never given and Chisholm cut the deficit further with a conversion.
For the remainder of the game Jed continued to pile on the pressure but some resolute Selkirk defending kept them out and a penalty from McVie ensured the Souters ran out top dogs on this particular occasion.
Selkirk: R. Banks; C. McColm, F. Harkness, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton; G. Craig, M. McVie; G. Patterson, S. Forrest, C. Graur, A. Renwick, M. Kissick, R. Crockatt, A. Ducket, E. MacDougall. Subs: L. MacLennan, J. Bett, C. Johnston, C. Lacour, N. Darling.
Jed-Forest: R. McFarlane; D. Wallace, I. Chisholm, R. Hogg, D. Gobby; E. Scott, R. Goohdfellow; G. Slorance, David Grieve, A. Croitoru, J. Szkudro, G. Young, S. Elder, M. Weekley, J. Sudlow. Subs: Donald Grieve, S. McDonald, A. Ions, R. McFarlane, J. Hogg.