Rusty start ensures derby defeat

SELKIRK, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 15: 'RUGBY - PREMIER CUP ROUND 2'Selkirk v Hawick at Philiphaugh, Selkirk'Full Time 6 - 19'Greg Cottrell (Hawick) left and Bruce McNeil (Capt) (Hawick) bring Neil Darling (Selkirk) to his knees, another defeat for the souters.''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
SELKIRK, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 15: 'RUGBY - PREMIER CUP ROUND 2'Selkirk v Hawick at Philiphaugh, Selkirk'Full Time 6 - 19'Greg Cottrell (Hawick) left and Bruce McNeil (Capt) (Hawick) bring Neil Darling (Selkirk) to his knees, another defeat for the souters.''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)

PREMIER CUP

FIONA SCOTT reports from Philiphaugh

IT CERTAINLY wasn’t the performance players or supporters were looking for.

Selkirk were forced to defend for long periods during the first half of Saturday’s match which ultimately proved their downfall, but a half-time rollicking saw Fraser Harkness and his men pull together and raise their game in the second period.

Speaking frankly after the game the Selkirk captain said: “We hadn’t played a game in nine weeks and in the first 25 minutes we were really rusty and gave away three tries and too many penalties.

“The coaches came in at half-time and were brutally honest with us.

“We missed too many tackles, we were lacklustre, we weren’t carrying the ball well and we hadn’t done anything that we said we were going to do.

“They basically handed it to us and we had to react. There have been other weeks where we have had half time talks and went back out and did nothing about it.

“The older players stood up then and said right, come on, we have to do something about this, and I thought we came together and showed our character. We stuck in well for all the conditions were dreadful.”

Poor play and persistent rain made for a mostly miserable afternoon, but most present were just pleased to see a game being played.

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 try of his own.

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 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.

Scott Hendrie sent a penalty flying through the posts 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.

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.