Souters rue second-half collapse as they miss out on top four

Stewart’s Melville FP 21

Selkirk 20

PREMIER DIVISION TWO

SELKIRK had the daunting task of having to beat the league leaders away from home if they were to achieve a top-four finish.

And they failed, just, to a last-minute penalty which clinched the points. It had all looked so different at half-time as Selkirk led by 17-3, but they let the second period slip away. The Souters got off to a dream start, scoring a try within the first five minutes.

From a free kick awarded in the 22, the ball was quickly passed along the line for Gavin Craig to break through and score.

David Cassidy added the conversion before slotting a penalty and, just before half-time, Darren Clapperton scored Selkirk’s second try which was converted by Cassidy for a 17-3 lead, Mike Hanning having kicked a penalty for the home side.

The second half was an entirely different affair. Stewart’s started aggressively and Selkirk’s fluency and teamwork deserted them.

The visitors’ demise was not helped by a yellow card for Clapperton and the pressure began to tell when after a fluent move involving backs and forwards, Angus Lean scored with Hanning adding the conversion.

With 20 minutes to go, Stewart’s awarded a penalty, which they kicked into the corner. From the ensuing line-out, their forwards drove over for Joni Hare to touch down. Hanning added a penalty to give Stewart’s the lead for the first time.

With seven minutes left, Selkirk rallied, and after pressure resulting from a Callum Marshall charge-down, were awarded a penalty. Cassidy kicked the points to edge Selkirk ahead once more, but with time running out Stewart’s continued to press and in the last minute the referee awarded a penalty, which Hanning converted.

Selkirk: F. Harkness; R. Banks, D. Cassidy, R. Nixon, D. Clapperton; G. Craig, M. McVie; G. Patterson, S. Forrest, C. Lecour, R. Aglen, J. Everitt, R. Crockatt, C. Marshall, C. Johnston. Subs: N. Godsmark, P. Forrest, R. Taylor, E. McDougall.