Derby defeat by Selkirk leaves Jed-Forest’s hopes of survival in rugby’s Scottish Premiership hanging by thread
With six games left to play and up to 30 points at stake as they bid to bridge a 19-point gap to catch up with second-bottom Glasgow Hawks, beaten 31-14 at Marr at the weekend, survival remains possible mathematically for a side still awaiting their first win of this campaign, but salvaging a bit of pride en route to a post-relegation squad rebuild in the spring and summer is now looking to be a more realistic aspiration.
Selkirk, on the other hand, though mathematically not out of the woods yet, are all but assured of retaining their top-flight status, thanks to their fourth victory of the campaign, secured despite three yellow cards in the space of 24 minutes – for prop Luke Pettie, centre Ross Nixon and replacement hooker Bruce Riddell – leaving them a man short for almost a third of the match.
That leaves them sitting third from bottom of the table, having overtaken Hawks, on 25 points from a dozen fixtures, with Jed in the basement spot and only three try bonus points to show for the same number of games played.
Selkirk’s tries at Jedburgh’s Riverside Park were scored by hooker James Bett, No 8 Andrew McColm, winger Finlay Wheelans, full-back Callum Anderson and centre Ben Pickles, four of them converted by scrum-half Hugo Alderson.
Jed’s were touched down by flanker Elliot Lauder and hooker Harry Meadows, with one conversion by centre Owen Cranston.
Try-scorer Anderson acknowledges that Selkirk’s compliance with rugby’s rules, this season’s ban on high tackles in particular, needs to improve but was otherwise pleased by the shift put in by his team-mates on Saturday, telling Borders Rugby TV afterwards: “That was probably the best our defence has been all season.
“Our discipline wasn’t great. We had a few boys coming in from Super6, where the rules are slightly different – you can hit a bit higher – so maybe that was part of it.
“When you’re defending as much as we were, it’s hard not to give away penalties, but next week we definitely can’t give away that many.
“I was really happy with the win. We can’t complain about coming here and getting five points.
“We were happy to get a few tries in the first half but the game definitely wasn’t done at that point.
“Our defence probably got us the win in the end.”
Jed’s Young added: “We knew Selkirk are pretty strong up front, and we should have been able to match that, but we didn’t. Maybe we were a bit shocked at just how intense they were at driving mauls, but really we should be defending that.
“We’re just not really doing what we’re asking of each other.
“Earlier in the season, white flags were getting put up straight away, but in the last few games, we’ve tried to stick in until the end.
“We just need to keep plugging on. Yes, we’re in a massive hole, but hopefully we’ll try to snap out of it and pick up a couple of wins to boost morale at the club.”
Next up for the Souters is a visit to Philiphaugh from second-placed Marr this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm, and Jed hit the road to sixth-placed Musselburgh at the same time.
Both will be looking to make amends after losing the reverse fixtures in mid-September, Selkirk by 38-24 in Troon and Jed by 40-31 at home.