Conditions threaten to ruin what should have been a derby spectacle

Selkirk 3

Gala 11

RBS SCOTTISH CUP

LAING SPEIRS reports from Philiphaugh

With the weather conditions working against both sides, a lot of folk at Philiphaugh were beginning to talk of the merits of summer rugby well before the interval.

But they were a bit premature in writing off the chance of a decent game. Maybe only one try was scored, and that a bit of a scrambled job, but they were able to watch some enterprising efforts by Selkirk and a heroic defensive effort by Gala.

Mistakes there were aplenty, with both sides making a hash of some of their handling, and finding difficulty in judging the pace and strength of the wind.

Coach George Graham found most to praise in Gala’s defence, but was a bit concerned with the line-out work and the number of penalties that his side gave away.

Ewen Robbie, the Selkirk coach, took a lot out of the game, singling out Callum McColm and replacement Ewen MacDougal in particular. He said he saw Selkirk building into a team, with the blooding of several youngsters.

Gala, who faced the wind in the first half, were always likely to have a struggle and Fraser Harkness was never going to make life easier for them.

His early breaks earned his side the position from which Michael McVie put over a penalty goal with only five minutes gone.

Gala had to work hard to get out of their own danger zone, but after 15 minutes Lee Millar equalised with a penalty goal from straight in front.

Some erratic handling by Gala kept them from taking control, but Selkirk, who knew they needed more points with the wind at their backs, couldn’t do any better.

Just on the break, Selkirk lost Andrew Renwick to a yellow card, and he was still absent when the Maroons restarted with the wind behind them.

A Selkirk scrum went sour, and George Graham pounced for the game’s solitary try.

Tom Weir was given a 10-minute spell on the sidelines as the Souters picked up their game and put Gala through an intense spell of pressure.

Near things came in abundance, with Gordon Patterson just missing out on what would have been a vital score at the corner.

What must have been the longest clearance kick of the season from Millar went from his own line to within the Selkirk 22, and that effectively spelled the end of Selkirk’s chances.

Gala used all their replacements late on, and finished the stronger, Millar kicking a 40m penalty goal in the last minute of the regulation period.

The weather won the game, but Gala took the points.

Selkirk: F. Harkness; N. Godsmark, S. Hendrie, A. Lyall, C. McColm; G. Craig, M. McVie; G. Patterson, S. Forrest, C. Lacour, R. Aglen, A. Renwick, J. Everett. C. Johnston, C. Marshall. Subs: R. Banks, J. Bett, S. Renwick, E. MacDouglas.

Gala: B. Turner; S. Law, C. Auld, A. Emond, G. Young; L. Millar, George Graham; L. Bertram, R. Anderson, E.McQuillin, D. Marshall, O. Palepoi, C. Keddie, Gary Lowrie, T. Weir. Subs: P. Stewart, S. Cairns, C. Borthwick, A. McLean, C. Robertson.