Frustration over Souters’ penalty count

Selkirk 14, Marr 26

Selkirk's captain Ewan MacDougall goes over for a try against Marr (picture by Grant Kinghorn)
Selkirk's captain Ewan MacDougall goes over for a try against Marr (picture by Grant Kinghorn)

Saturday’s defeat at Philiphaugh by league leaders Marr saw Selkirk drop out of the Tennent’s Premiership play-off places, with Aberdeen Grammar leapfrogging them to take over fourth spot.

After the game, Selkirk skipper Ewan MacDougall spoke about what might have been: “Going into the second half, we wanted to play into the corners and put them under pressure – and, for the first 10 minutes or so, we managed to do that.

“After that, we gave away too many penalties and they were able to kick for position and launch attacks from inside our half, so it was frustrating, to say the least.

“The coaches told the boys after the final whistle they couldn’t fault the players’ efforts, especially defensively. I think we just need to play a bit more in the right areas, and that’s something the whole squad has to work on.

“What we’ve got to do now is make good use of the time off over the next couple of weeks to get injuries seen to, regroup and then make sure we come back stronger for the last three games of the league campaign,” added MacDougall.

“Hopefully, that’ll be enough to get us back into play-off contention.”

The visitors took a 9-0 lead, thanks to three penalties from the boot of Gregor Paxton.

Despite having very little possession, the home players continued to make their first-time tackles count and match Marr’s high work rate in the loose.

Selkirk had a try by Ryan Cottrell chalked off after the assistant referee adjudged that Josh Welsh’s tap-down to Cottrell, from McColm’s restart kick, had gone forward.

Five minutes before the interval, Selkirk did manage to cut the deficit. Aaron McColm’s quickly-taken tap penalty was driven forward by lock Sean Rankin, and Ewan MacDougall managed to finish off the move by squirming his way under the posts for an opportunist try.

McColm’s conversion made the half-time score 7-9 in favour of the Troon visitors.

After the break, Selkirk went ahead when Aaron McColm fed Luke Pettie from a ruck 10 metres outside Marr’s 22. The prop fed on to Peter Forrest, whose offload was seized on by the ever-alert Scott McClymont.

The ‘Tinnis Thunderbolt’ jinked inside Marr defender Calum Inglis before swerving around full-back Greg Montgomery to score under the posts. McColm’s conversion put the home side 14-9 ahead.

A missed penalty by McColm soon afterwards was to prove costly – and the writing was on the wall for the Souters when Scott Bickerstaff raced over to score a brace of tries and put the visitors 21-14 ahead.

Just when it looked as if Selkirk might at least have the consolation of securing a losing bonus point, Marr replacement forward Curran McMillan barrelled his way over for a try in the corner, to compound the home supporters’ frustration.

The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to Sean Rankin, with his second row colleague Peter Forrest also deserving mention for an equally spirited performance.

Selkirk: H. Bithray, R. Cottrell, J. Welsh, R. Nixon, L. Berte, Aaron McColm, L. Merolle, L. Pettie, J. Bett, B. Riddell, P. Forrest, S. Rankin, A. Mackay, S. McClymont, E. MacDougall Replacements: Andrew McColm, M. Haldane, H. Borthwick, C. Anderson.