As predicted before the National League One midway stage, things were only going to get tougher for Selkirk’s unbeaten rugby squad as opponents vied to knock them from the top.
This was very much the case at Philiphaugh last weekend when a Biggar outfit desperate to stay clear of the drop zone came calling.
The visitors pushed the high-flying Souters every step of the way in a no-holds-barred encounter, with both teams’ defences equally resolute as bitter flurries of wind and rain blew down the pitch.
For the second week in a row, Selkirk were made to fight hard to keep their 100 per cent league record before eventually running out 26-3 winners.
Tomorrow more of the same is forecast, both in opposition – Hillhead/Jordanhill – and weather conditions, but Selkirk head coach Peter Wright feels his men are more than up to the challenge.
“We knew Biggar would come at us hard last weekend, and that’s exactly the way things turned out,” he said.
“Our play became very scratchy at times, and too often we took the wrong options under pressure.
“That said, the character of this squad came through in the end, and picking up a bonus point was no less than the efforts of Selkirk’s players deserved.
“Today we showed everyone we can play hard-yard rugby, and that’s the kind of focus the team’s going to have to maintain in the weeks ahead.”
Biggar went 3-0 ahead in the 13th minute last weekend from a Graeme Hunter penalty, but the hosts hit back with a typically-polished piece of finishing from Scott Hendrie. Having been out of 1st XV action so far this season through a combination of injury and business commitments, the 27-year-old wing showed the home crowd he’d lost none of his running skills by cleverly rounding the last Biggar defender to score near the corner.
The visitors had a chance to regain the lead five minutes before the interval, but Hunter pulled his penalty attempt wide of the post. Halftime score: Selkirk 5, Biggar 3.
After the restart the Philiphaugh men immediately laid siege to the Biggar line – turning down three possible kicks at goal in favour of line-outs inside the visitors’ 22.
Something had to give, and the breakthrough came in the 54th minute when hooker James Bett charged down a clearance kick, beating team-mate Lewis MacLennan to the touchdown to bag Selkirk’s second try. Josh Welsh conversed.
In the final quarter of the match the Souters began to turn the screw. Tries for Gordon Patterson and new Australian second row recruit Mitch Utteridge, both converted by Welsh, secured both the win and that all-important bonus point.
Blindside flanker Chaney Willemse was named the Four Seasons Forestry Selkirk Man-of-the-Match.