Second-half surge helps Souters in cup opener

Josh Welsh marked his return with a personal tally of 24 points in the opening round of the Scottish Cup against Cartha Queens Park.
Josh Welsh marked his return with a personal tally of 24 points in the opening round of the Scottish Cup against Cartha Queens Park.
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A storming second half display swept Selkirk to a convincing victory over Cartha Queen’s Park in Saturday’s BT National Cup first round tie at Dumbreck Road.

Full-back Josh Welsh celebrated his return to the team with two tries and seven conversions for a personal haul of 24 points, while James Bett and wing Darren Clapperton both scored three tries apiece to round off a positive performance by the Philiphaugh men.

Playing with the wind behind them, Selkirk got off to the perfect start as Welsh kicked a simple penalty and, two minutes later Clapperton scored the game’s first try from a free-flowing move originating deep in Selkirk territory.

Good handling by the visiting backs saw Welsh score under the posts in the 15th minute, with the full-back adding the conversion to put the visitors 17-0 ahead. Cartha’s big pack then began to step up a gear, and with Selkirk forced on to the back foot, the Glasgow side turned pressure into points with two converted tries, cutting the deficit to just three points.

Just before half time, Selkirk regained the initiative with another long-range score, this time openside flanker Angus Duckett being up in support to finish off the move with a try wide out. Welsh kicked his third successful conversion to put the visitors 24-14 ahead at the break.

Coach Peter Wright’s half-time talk must have been right on the money, because Andrew Renwick’s men came out for the second half with all guns blazing – launching attacks from every part of the field and showing excellent ball retention and support play.

Replacement hooker James Bett soon made his presence felt by scoring two tries within the space of 10 minutes, one of which was converted by Welsh, and tries followed at regular intervals from Clapperton, Lewis MacLennan, Kieran Cooney, Welsh, Bett (his third) and Clapperton (also his third).

Selkirk’s dogged defence was a key feature of the game, with Craig MacDougall and his brother Ewan consistently putting in big hits. James Bett made an immediate impact when coming off the bench in the second half, as did young prop Bruce Riddell, who made life tough for his bigger opposite number at every scrum.

Lock Jordan McGowan continues to improve with each outing, his aggressive ball-carrying proving a potent weapon in Selkirk’s attacking arsenal, while Kieran Cooney’s wealth of is clearly going to stand the Philiphaugh side in good stead for the harder battles to come.