Selkirk continued their fine run of form in BT National League Division One with a narrow, hard-fought victory over Kelso at Philiphaugh on Saturday.
There was plenty at stake for both teams, with Selkirk trying to defend their unbeaten league record and Kelso just needing points to steer clear of the relegation area.
In the end it was the Souters who won through, but not without a fight from their Borders rivals who notched an all-important losing bonus point for their efforts.
Selkirk backs coach Cameron Cochrane said: “We knew it would be difficult to keep up the momentum after a two-week break from the leagues.
“All credit to Kelso for defending so well and taking the game right down to the wire. It was a really hard contest, and I’m delighted our boys managed to get back to winning ways after two recent losses.”
Selkirk got off to a dream start when, in the very first minute, the home forwards stole possession at a Kelso line-out, and some swift handling allowed Darren Clapperton to go over in the corner.
From this point onwards, the match swung from one end of the field to the other, with both teams running the ball at every opportunity. Big defensive tackles were very much the order of the day, and there was no further scoring until just before half-time, when Josh Welsh kicked a penalty after Kelso had been caught offside. Half-time score: Selkirk 8, Kelso 0.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with both teams looking to attack the opposition’s line from all areas of the field. After 57 minutes, Welsh stretched Selkirk’s lead to 11 points from another penalty, but soon afterwards the visitors got on the scoresheet thanks to a try by Tony Wichary, converted by skipper Andrew Skeen.
Selkirk immediately set up camp close to the Kelso line, and following a line-out near the corner, the home backs ran a move which saw Josh Welsh come into the line at pace. The full back split the Kelso defence, and raced over for Selkirk’s second try, which he also converted.
With time running out, Kelso threw everything at the home line and were rewarded with a try by Skeen, which he also converted.
The referee blew for full-time soon afterwards, with Selkirk’s players happy to have registered their 11th straight league win, having been pushed every inch of the way by a fired-up Kelso side.