Jed-Forest prove it ain’t over till it’s over by snatching last-gasp derby draw at Selkirk

It ain’t over till it’s over might be a saying with its origins in American baseball, but it also perfectly summed up the Tennent’s Premiership derby nail-biter played out by Selkirk and Jed-Forest at the former’s Philiphaugh home ground on Saturday.

By John Smail
Monday, 8th November 2021, 6:22 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 6:38 pm
Bruce Riddell on the ball for Selkirk against Jed-Forest, backed up by skipper Ewan MacDougall (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Bruce Riddell on the ball for Selkirk against Jed-Forest, backed up by skipper Ewan MacDougall (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Having managed to repel the visitors’ efforts in the first half to harness the elements, Selkirk, having taken a narrow interval lead, looked ideally placed to ramp up the pressure after the break.

However, a combination of great defence by their Jedburgh visitors and a failure by the hosts to make the most of several try-scoring opportunities meant they found themselves desperately defending their own line in the game’s final seconds to hold on to their 10-3 advantage.

A series of pick-and-go drives by the Jed forwards eventually saw centre Rory Marshall force his way over for a try, and, with the final kick of the game, scrum-half Gary Munro added a conversion to tie the scores.

Selkirk forward Thomas Brown on the ball against Jed-Forest (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Throughout a hard-fought match, Selkirk looked to have the greater control and, barring some early lineout misfires, kept their guests in check.

Even when hooker James Bett headed to the sidelines with a nasty eye injury requiring six stitches, the Philiphaugh team managed to keep their shape.

A 32nd-minute penalty by Gary Munro put Jed 3-0 ahead, but Selkirk replacement Peter Forrest capitalised on some sustained home pressure on the visitors’ line soon after to dive over for the game’s first try.

A long-range penalty attempt by Munro on the stroke of half-time fell short, giving Selkirk a 5-3 lead as the teams headed for their dressing rooms.

Jed-Forest's Craig Cowan and Gregor Law team up to stop a Selkirk attack by Luke Peddie (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

After the interval, most of the play took place in the Jed half, but in spite of their ascendancy, Selkirk found Jed a tough nut to crack.

The best chance came when quick scrum ball saw Kieran Clark beat the cover on a swift touchline break, but his inside pass to Andrew Grant-Suttie didn’t go to hand.

Eventually Ben Pickles extended the home side’s lead by collecting Ross Nixon’s pass to scamper in for a try in the left-hand corner.

A yellow card for Jed‘s Ben McNeill didn’t help the visitors’ cause, but despite being a man down, their never-say-die attitude saw them regroup and work their way up the field for Marshall’s dramatic stoppage-time score and Munro’s conversion.

Selkirk No 14 Josh Welsh sucks in two Jed-Forest players and hands off to Kieran Clark (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

The two teams play each other again this Friday at Jedburgh’s Riverside Park in a fixture postponed from early September, with kick-off at 7.30pm.

The Souters go into that game seventh in the table with 15 points from eight games, their hosts being two points and two places below them.

Selkirk head coach Scott Wight told us afterwards: “I said to the players after the game that we should never have been in that situation.

“We were the dominant team and played all the rugby down in their territory, but errors let us down at crucial moments.

“Fair play to Jed, they held on to the ball at the end for 10 to 12 phases and the boy kicked the conversion.

“We’ll now regroup and go again at Riverside on Friday night.”

Jed head coach Scott Tomlinson added: “Everyone stuck to their task, and full marks go to our players for the patience and control they were able to show in the build-up to that final try.”