Dundee HSFP 21
Scintillating, because of the sheer verve with which Selkirk performed in the second half, playing with pace, panache and passion to fight back and take victory with the last kick of the match, after trailing 8-21 at the break.
This current group of Selkirk players, many promoted from last season’s second XV, are fuelled by high-octane confidence, albeit less apparent in a nervous first half that was very much about adjusting to the strength of the big Dundee forward pack.
But in the second half, Selkirk showed why they are the leading side in the national league by playing a top-drawer brand of rugby that was all about relentless attacking with ball in hand, requiring Dundee to be at their defensive best.
Particularly impressive was the half-back pairing of Mikey Davies and Calum McColm. Davies easily matched Dundee’s scrum half, Andy Dymock, who has played for the Scotland Club XV, while McColm, in taking the ball to the gain line at pace, created numerous attacking opportunities for the outside backs.
Amongst the forwards, superbly led by Kieran Cooney, back rowers Calum Marshall and Angus Duckett were outstanding.
Arguably Selkirk’s hero on the day was replacement Rory Banks, who turned Selkirk pressure into points with accurate goal kicking, slotting three from three in the second period. The Philiphaugh men had expected a difficult game from a Dundee side that has been steadily improving after a tricky start to the season.
“They had put a load of points past GHA and we knew this would be tough match,” admitted Selkirk coach Peter Wright, adding: “This was probably our toughest match of the season. We probably forced the game too much in the first half and as a result gifted them an easy try under the posts.
“Had we not won we would have had to work harder during the break. As it is, the boys can now chill out and enjoy themselves before the next game.”
Selkirk were first on the scoresheet with a Jon Welsh penalty after a break by hooker Jeremy Bett, but two successes off the tee from Dundee’s Harry Millar, then a try in the corner by winger Ronan Joy following a Selkirk line-out misfunction, and then a third penalty by Millar gave Dundee a 14-3 lead.
A try from a line-out move by Duckett brought Selkirk back into the game, only to then mishandle in midfield allowing Dundee’s flanker Johnny Petty to score under the posts leaving the Philiphaugh men trailing 8-21 at the break.
Selkirk quickly ate into Dundee’s lead with a try in the corner by Welsh from a telling break by Duckett, and when Millar missed two kickable penalties Dundee looked vulnerable.
Selkirk’s high-tempo game then forced Dundee to concede penalties, allowing Banks to show his kicking prowess and his nerve under pressure, with three successes off the tee that gave Selkirk a well-deserved win.