One hurdle too far for disjointed Souters

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Selkirk Youth Club 13

Stirling County 41

UNDER-18 NATIONAL YOUTH CUP

GEORGE LYALL reports from Murrayfield

A FORMIDABLE Stirling County side proved too strong for Selkirk Youth Club in the final of the National Youth Cup.

Selkirk had to adjust their team before the game as skipper Callum McColm had come into the match with a shoulder injury that forced coach Cameron Cochrane to play him at full back.  This changed the balance of the backs, bringing Josh Welsh into stand-off from centre.

The Borderers started brightly against a Stirling team that have a massive pack of forwards, seven of whom have played for Scotland Under-18s.

Straight from the kick-off, Stirling worked their way forward and within three minutes went ahead when their centre Matthew Lamb was given too much space out wide and touched down in the corner.

Youth Club fought back through a Welsh penalty after seven minutes and could have taken the lead on 11 minutes, but the fly-half’s kick drifted narrowly wide.

For the next 10 minutes Selkirk managed to hold their own and an exciting move involving McColm, Allan Smith and Callum McEwan came to a halt against a solid defence.

After 20 minutes, Stirling were awarded a penalty and from the line-out, giant Scotland lock Adam Sinclair scored, with stand-off Jack Urquhart converting.

Two minutes later County centre Lamb powered his way through some desperate Selkirk defending.

However, Selkirk centre Allan Smith showed some of his football skills before picking up the ball and evaded a number of Stirling tackles to sprint near the posts to touch down.

Selkirk suffered a blow when captain McColm had to be replaced due to an injury and from a five-metre scrum, Stirling number eight Adam Ashe plunged over to touch down.

Just on half-time Welsh made the score 24-13 with a well-struck penalty.

The second half was a bit scrappy with the Souters trying their hardest to break through the well organised and strong Stirling defence, with Harry Aynsley and Smith at the forefront.

However, County extended their lead in the 56th minute against a tiring Selkirk team who had played valiantly throughout, as a lost ball in a scrum let Stirling stand-off Urquhart through to score.

The Youth Club made a number of substitutions to give their squad an experience of playing at the national stadium, as did Stirling.

But Selkirk’s brave defence was breached twice more by flankers Chris Arnold and Shaun MacDonald, with one conversion from Urquhart.

Considering the size of Selkirk compared with the Stirling catchment area, the Souters, although disappointed, can be proud of their performance.

Selkirk YC: C. McColm, K. Monks, A. Smith, H. Aynsley, C. McEwan, J. Welsh, T. Penman; F. Irvine, J. Bett, M. Waldron, E. Harrison, R. Wilson, J. Haughey, R. Purves, L. MacLennan. Subs: F. McKerracher, C. Mordue, J. Lunt, J. Carroll, T. Duncan, G. Berkeley, J. Turnbull.