FIONA SCOTT reports from Philiphaugh
HAVING not played competitive rugby for almost two months it was hardly surprising that both teams were a bit rusty for this second round match.
Poor play and persistent rain made for a mostly miserable afternoon, but most present were just pleased to see a game being played – and what the tie lacked in skill it certainly made up for in spirit.
With a guaranteed Premier One spot next season, Hawick were able to focus fully on the cup competition, while the priority of their hosts remains securing themselves a place in club rugby’s top flight.
Selkirk were forced to defend for long periods during the first half of Saturday’s match which ultimately proved their downfall as Deek Armstrong’s outfit pressed home their advantage.
Speaking after the game, the Hawick coach told TheSouthern: “They played well in the first half and not so well in the second, but I put that down to rustiness. There were a lot of positives and at the end of the day they did the job and I’m happy with that.
“Part of our problem since the split has been that we have had nothing to play for, but now we have the cup. Saying that, we have had time to sit back a bit and reflect, and now we can just enjoy all our games.”
Within four minutes the Greens had forced their way down to the Souters’ 22 and it was Bruce McNeil who barged his way over the line from the back of a ruck. Rory Hutton landed the conversion before adding a skilful try of his own which saw him weave his way round the blindside to score in the corner.
Hawick continued to pile on the pressure, opting to kick to touch at every opportunity, the torrential rain not lending itself to handling and running, and it wasn’t long before they were on the scoreboard again.
An infringement in front of their own posts and some backchat from Fraser Harkness began to try the patience of referee Charles Samson and after Selkirk had kicked the ball out of an advancing Hawick scrum close to the line, earning Simon Willet a yellow card, a penalty try was awarded, which Hutton wasted no time in converting to go ahead 19-0 at the break.
Selkirk returned to the pitch for the second half with a fresh strip and a fresh attitude as well. Scott Hendrie sent a penalty flying through the posts in the early stages and the hosts began to ask questions of the Hawick defence.
A second penalty in front of the posts closed the gap further and as the game neared its end frustration began to creep in, resulting in Hawick prop Bruce McNeil being sent to the sin bin.
Selkirk failed to make their extra man count, however, and a bout of handbags saw the loss of two more players, Matt Martin (Selkirk) and David Lowrie (Hawick), who were both sent to cool down.
With McNeil back on the match was played out with the Teries once again pushing towards the hosts’ line.
Selkirk: C. Beattie; N. Godsmark, S. Hendrie, F. Harkness, C. Clapperton; G. Craig, M. McVie; G. Patterson, S. Forrest, M. Weller, R. Aglen, S. Willett, R. Crockett, N. Darling, A. Renwick. Subs: R. Nixon, M. Martin R. Godsmark, C. Marshall, R. Taylor.
Hawick: N. Renwick; N. McComb, G. Anderson, G. Johnstone, S. Anderson; R. Hutton, G. Cottrell; B. McNeil, L. Gibson, S. Linton, C. Charters, K. Davies, D. Lowrie, N. Mactaggart, M. Robertson. Subs: G. Lowrie.