PREMIER DIVISION TWO
STUART CAMERON reports
WHAT a weekend for strange results!
It wasn’t just the Manchester football derby which sprung surprises. When Jed-Forest beat Kelso comfortably earlier this month and then Kelso thumped Selkirk 35-3 seven days before this game, the smart money would have been on a big win for Jed as they visited Philiphaugh to play Selkirk for the first time in the Premier Division for several years.
But the old saying ‘anything can happen in a Border derby’ was apt as Selkirk kicked off with a gale at their backs and proceeded to get stuck in from the off.
By half-time the Souters had put themselves in a healthy position with 18 points on the board and nothing conceded.
Two tries from Fraser Harkness – following a cheeky kick into space by the outstanding young fly half Rory Banks – and Gordon Patterson, after another superb kick by Banks, put Selkirk in control.
David Cassidy converted the Harkness try and kicked two penalty goals.
Cassidy put in a man-of-the-match performance and was a thorn in the side of a very jittery Jed-Forest side who made so many handling errors that in the end much of the possession they got was constantly wasted.
The first score of the second half was going to be crucial and up stepped Cassidy to bang over another penalty.
At 21-0 you just felt this was not going to be Jed’s day. To their credit, they finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a Chris Laidlaw penalty.
However, Cassidy then showed everyone that he is not just a goal-kicker. His break from his own half was very special indeed. He timed his pass perfectly to Calum Johnson and his kick ahead was on the money for Harkness to dive over for his sixth try in the league this season. Cassidy’s touchline conversion was spot-on and, suddenly, it was 28-3.
With worrying injuries to Scott Hendrie and his replacement Ciaran Beattie, Selkirk had to re-shuffle their backline completely and Jed took advantage.
After 67 minutes, things finally clicked in place for them with two tries in as many minutes.
First, a long Laidlaw pass came to Michael Weekley in oceans of space and it was simple for him to touch down, then a not-so-good pass from Laidlaw hit Darren Gillespie’s leg and the ball ricocheted well for him as it went beween the posts and he chased it down to score. Laidlaw’s conversion made it 28-15, but much more was needed.
It seemed the match was set for a dramatic conclusion when Gillespie scored again in the corner as the clock approached full-time.
Unfortunately for Jed, the assistant referee, who was in an ideal position to judge it, didn’t see the grounding of the ball and the score was scrubbed out.
It could have cost them a losing bonus point but to be fair they didn’t deserve anything out of this, and a big test of their character will come next week at Biggar when they have avoid a third straight defeat to stay in contention for that Premier B spot after 11 games.
Selkirk: F. Harkness; S. Hendrie, D. Cassidy, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton; R. Banks, M. McVie; G. Patterson, S. Forrest, C. Lacour, R. Aglen, A. Renwick, N. Darling, C. Johnson, C. Marshall. Subs: R. Taylor, P. Forrest, E. McDougal, C. Beattie.
Jed-Forest: I. Chisholm; G. Young, R. Hogg, E. Scott, D. Gobby; C. Laidlaw, R. Goodfellow; R. Ferguson, David Grieve, A. Ions, P. Hill, N. Cook, A. Nagle, Donald Grieve, D. Gillespie. Subs: J. Hogg, M. Weekley, G. Slorance, S. Scott.
Watch highlights of the game at www.BordersRugby.net