Second-half comeback not enough to snatch victory for Selkirk at Hawick
Two interception tries late on looked to have gifted Selkirk an unlikely win at Hawick’s Mansfield Park on Saturday, but a penalty from home full-back Kirk Ford settled the contest in favour of the hosts by a whisker.
That 23-22 victory leaves the Greens in possession of the Bill McLaren Shield and also as the highest-placed Borders club in the Tennent’s Premiership.
They’re fourth in the table with 10 points from three games, just a point behind league leaders Currie Chieftains and four ahead of seveth-placed Selkirk and nine clear of second-bottom Jed-Forest.
Next up for the two teams this Saturday, September 25, is a home game against Currie for Selkirk and a trip to Edinburgh Academical for Hawick, both kicking off at 3pm.
A concern for the visitors ahead of that match is three of their players – Josh Welsh, Josh Mackay and Ryan Cottrell – having to go off injured.
“The bottom line is that we didn’t play well today, although I thought the players showed character to fight to the end and come up with those two interception tries,” said Selkirk head coach Scott Wight.
“Hawick were the better team on the day and unfortunately we didn’t front up, which is something we’re going to have to address.
“Probably the most disappointing thing of all is the crop of injuries we suffered, a couple of which look likely to keep those players out for months rather than weeks.
“Hopefully, coping with such adversity will knit us closer together as a squad, and it’s important the boys stick together and don’t splinter off.
“Currie, one of the stronger teams in the league, come to Philiphaugh on Saturday, so we’re going to have to dust ourselves off and get on with it.”
Hawick also didn’t have their injury problems to seek, with both Callum Renwick and back row team-mate Stuart Graham departing early after picking up knocks.
Their head coach, Matty Douglas, was delighted to have edged his side’s first Borders derby of the new season, telling Borders Rugby TV: “It was a great result.
“I thought we were the better team at the end of the game and deserved to win.
“In the first half, we weren’t quite where I wanted us to be, but I thought we were really, really switched on in the second half.
“I thought the boys dug deep and Kirk’s kicked a penalty at the end of the game when last week we missed one.
“There were a lot of big performances in there again. Matty Carryer, leading from the front as captain, was outstanding, along with Jae Linton, and young Corey Tait came off the bench to make his debut and he really stuck in.”
Carryer put the hosts ahead on three minutes by charging under the posts, with Ford converting, though a Scott Clark penalty later on got Selkirk back in it, only for Hawick wing Ronan McKean to exploit space on the right by scoring an unconverted try.
Just before half-time, Clark peeled away from a line-out drive to dive over for a try he then converted, putting the score at 12-10 in Hawick’s favour.
A home try by wing Morgan Tait and a penalty by Ford awarded after Selkirk replacement Jack Hamilton was yellow-carded moments after taking to the pitch put Hawick 20-10 ahead.
Selkirk then hit back with breakaway tries by Ryan Cottrell and Callum Anderson and a Clark conversion to go ahead 22-20 only to be denied a shock win by Ford’s boot.