Hollywood script writers couldn’t have penned a better ending to Selkirk RFC’s National Division One league season than that witnessed at Poynder Park on Saturday.
It had everything: frustration, despair, tension, excitement, drama, courage and, of course, that all-important happy ending.
According to head coach Peter Wright that is exactly what the club game needs, and despite the growth of a few more grey hairs during the 80-minute blockbuster, he was delighted with the performance of his team.
He told The Wee Paper: “It certainly was an exciting game.
“That is what playing at this level is all about, though. The players enjoy it and the supporters are drawn in from start to finish.”
Having already gained promotion and lifted the league trophy, Wright’s men were looking to end their season with a place in the history books on Saturday. A win against Kelso would finish with their 100 per cent win record intact, having played 22 and won 22, the first time such a feat has been achieved in this division.
They did it in the end, running out 32-29 winners.
But it wasn’t until the final minutes of the game, when prop Cata Graur bulldozed his way over the tryline, that the victory was sealed.
Kelso obviously hadn’t been reading the same script and had wracked up a 24-5 lead by half-time, courtesy of tries from Andy Tait and Gregg Minto, with former Melrose man Andrew Skeen adding another, plus three conversions and a penalty.
Playing his last game for Selkirk before returning home to New Zealand, lock Matt Kissick forced his way over the tryline in the 34th minute, but come the interval, hopes of a happy send-off were looking slightly diminished.
Even coach Wright was feeling the strain.
“We’ve come back from the dead in two or three matches this season, but to be honest today I thought we were pretty much dead and buried at halftime,” he admitted.
His team, however, weren’t about to let the blood, sweat and tears of producing one of the best seasons in the history of the club go without full reward.
Two Rory Banks penalties signalled the start of the comeback with Callum Marshall adding a try, Banks converting, to take Selkirk to within six points. Kelso replied with a Murray Hastie try, but by this time the Souters had the bit well and truly between their teeth. A penalty try, converted by Banks, reduced the leeway again before continuous pressure on the Kelso line saw Graur over in the 77th minute. Banks converted and the game was won.
“You couldn’t have asked for a more dramatic last-minute of the season, and when you win a game as dramatically as that, so late in the game, it just makes it that bit more special,” said Wright.