West of Scotland 19
GEORGE THOMSON reports from Philiphaugh
SELKIRK confirmed their national status for next season with a convincing victory over West of Scotland.
Philiphaugh was bathed in sunshine as the combatants entered the fray and the first 10 minutes or so saw both teams cancelling each other out with some excellent defensive rugby.
Michael McVie opened the scoring for the Souters with a confidently-struck penalty and he repeated his good work several minutes later when West infringed.
Selkirk were looking threatening in attack and their enterprise was rewarded by a thundering try by backs coach Ali Dickson, standing in as cover for missing players.
Michael McVie converted to put Selkirk comfortably ahead.
To give West credit, they persevered to play expansive rugby and winger Mark Simm was full of running whenever he had the ball.
Stand-off Ross McAulay also contributed with intention as the first half drew to a close. Local supporters were jubilant when Niall Godsmark capitalised on a forwards drive and showed a clean pair of heels to score a fine unconverted try. Selkirk’s lead was 18-0 and all in the garden seemed rosy.
However, anyone who has supported Selkirk over the years would not have been surprised when West had the last say in the first half. Selkirk failed to defend a speculative kick ahead and left winger Mark Simm pounced to open the account for West with a try in the corner. 18-5 in Selkirk’s favour at the interval was probably a fair reflection of play.
Blink and you would have missed West making it game-on when the second half started in dramatic style.
Suddenly, the visitors were right back in the game when prop forward Steven Longwell crashed over seconds after the restart. Ross McAulay converted and, from being comfortably 18-0 ahead and coasting just prior to half-time, Selkirk were now defending a meagre six-point lead.
With half an hour to go there was an almighty forwards drive by Selkirk and Andrew Renwick crossed over for a try which McVie converted.
Never-say-die West notched up their third try with No 8 Jamie McCaulay being credited with the touchdown. Ross McAulay converted, but the final minutes were played out in West territory.
Selkirk: R. Banks; N. Godsmark, S. Hendrie, A. Dickson, C. McColm; M. Rutherford, M. McVie; S. Renwick, P. Mirrielees, C. Lacour, R. Aglen, A. Renwick, N. Darling, C. Johnston, R. Crockatt. Subs: M. Davies, J. Bett, B. Reid, E. Macdougall.