Souters leave it late before stealing thin win

Biggar 2s 7, Selkirk ‘A’ 10

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 2:35 pm
David Cassidy's experience was a telling factor for Selkirk 'A' (archive image by Grant Kinghorn).

There was no disguising the Selkirk players’ delight as the final whistle sounded at Hartree Mill on Saturday.

The visitors’ narrow victory over a strong Biggar side was their fourth away win in the Tennent’s Reserve League East Division 1 this season, moving them up to second spot in what’s becoming a highly competitive league.

Things had looked very different in the first half, with the home team’s strong-running threequarters and powerful pack forcing Selkirk on to the back foot for almost the entire 40 minutes.

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Despite playing with the breeze behind them, all Selkirk could show for their efforts before the break was a fourth-minute penalty from scrum-half Scott Clark.

The visitors’ cause wasn’t helped when prop Kieran Thomson had to leave the field with a head knock after 20 minutes, with Michael Waldron coming on as his replacement.

Biggar’s sustained spells of pressure resulted in a well-worked try from centre Craig MacDonald, converted by Euan Bogle, making the half-time score 7-3 in the home side’s favour.

Having replaced Harry Aynsley, who had aggravated a shoulder injury, on the 35-minute mark, Selkirk player-coach David Cassidy added some much-needed experience to the visitors’ backline.

However, a touchline contretemps between the 38-year-old fly-half and Biggar number eight Craig Frame saw both men yellow-carded, with tempers becoming frayed as both teams battled to gain the upper hand.

Just as the game entered its final quarter, it was Selkirk who struck what ultimately proved the decisive blow.

From a scrum close to the home try line, number eight Andrew McColm – who had an outstanding match – picked up and fed Scott Clark. The scrum-half expertly drew his man before sending David Cassidy crashing over for a try close to the left-hand corner flag.

Clark then coolly slotted the touchline conversion in-off the far goal post, putting the visitors 10-7 in front.

The rest of the game was played deep in Selkirk territory, with Biggar throwing everything at the visitors’ defence. Time and again, Biggar opted to take tap-penalties close to the visitors’ try line, rather than draw level with a kick at goal.

One particularly crunching tackle by McColm on a rampaging home forward set the benchmark for his team-mates to follow and, over the remaining 15 minutes, Liam Cassidy’s men battened down the hatches to complete a famous victory.

Selkirk ‘A’ – C. McNeill, M. Rutter, L. Martin, H. Aynsley, N. Armstrong, R. Hamilton, S. Clark, K. Thomson, M. Francis, G. Forrest, M. Mackay, P. Smail, L. Cassidy, R. Purves, A. McColm. Replacements: M. Waldron, D. Cassidy, H. Macdonell, M. Brass.

Referee – Graham Allen (Edinburgh).