RBS BORDERS REGIONAL CUP
A FIFTH and decisive win against a fired-up Peebles outfit completed a Border Cup whitewash for Selkirk on Friday night.
Playing at the Gytes, the hosts, who at this stage were still capable of sneaking through to the quarter-final stages themselves, gave it everything they had. But two tries by the visitors in the final quarter of the match were enough to preserve the Philiphaugh team’s unbeaten run in the competition and secure the trophy.
Although Peebles made the livelier start to the match, it was Selkirk who put the first points on the board thanks to two Michael McVie penalties in the sixth and 18th minutes.
In turn, Peebles tested the Selkirk defences with some strong running and it took some fine tackling to halt their progress.
A well-controlled rolling maul by the Selkirk pack took play deep into home territory, but at the next scrum Selkirk were penalised for collapsing and the chance was lost. The visitors found themselves at the wrong end of the referee’s whistle on a regular basis, with Peebles taking full advantage – skipper Warren Kearney giving a spirited lead from number eight.
As half-time approached, Peebles took the lead in dramatic fashion. Michael McVie’s clearance kick was charged down, allowing James Hemara to fly-hack the loose ball over the visitors’ line and score an opportunist try. Greg Raeburn’s successful conversion put Peebles 7-6 ahead at the break.
Peebles continued to harry Selkirk at every turn as the second half got under way, with the visitors not helping their own cause by conceding a string of penalties. From a line-out close to the Selkirk line, a series of close-quarter drives by the Peebles forwards resulted in a 53rd-minute try under the posts for prop Adam Clark and Donald Anderson’s conversion stretched Peebles’ lead to 14-6.
The score appeared to sting Selkirk into action. Almost immediately Michael McVie reduced the deficit with his third successful penalty and, in the 58th minute, the large travelling support finally had something to cheer about when a strike against the head 5m from the home try-line allowed Ryan Crockatt to feed Gavin Craig, and the Selkirk fly-half showed great presence of mind to evade the clutches of two Peebles defenders and spin over the line for his team’s first try.
McVie’s sweetly struck conversion put Selkirk back in front.
This score galvanised the Philiphaugh men, and after McVie had kicked his fourth penalty of the night, Selkirk stretched their lead with a try from Crockatt, set up by a storming run from Angus Duckett.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Peebles cut the deficit to seven points with a Donald Anderson penalty and there were a few tense moments left before the final whistle signalled the end of an extremely competitive match.
Selkirk: F. Harkness; J. Welsh, S. Hendrie, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton; G. Craig, M. McVie; C. Lacour, J. Bett, C. Graur, A. Renwick, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, A. Duckett, R. Crockatt. Subs: R. Banks, S. Forrest , M. Waldron, E. Turner, J. Everitt.