Selkirk did everything they could to win on Saturday afternoon, Heriot’s just wouldn’t let them as the reigning BT Premiership escaped from Philiphaugh with a victory.
Selkirk overcame huge mistakes, including a series of poor scrummaging sequences that led to a pair of early penalty tries, to get within four points of knocking off last year’s league champions with a scoring frenzy but ultimately ran out of time and gas to complete a magical second half recovery.
On the surface, it was another disappointing afternoon for the hosts, but there was a silver lining according to Director of Rugby Cameron Cochrane.
“We played the better rugby overall, we just couldn’t get the result we wanted in the end,” he said.
“They got two penalty tries while we scored four open field tries and played far more rugby. The most positive aspect we can take the game is that we had the Scottish champions on the ropes.
“We showed that we can play with teams like this which is a huge positive after a couple of painful losses already this season.”
Heriot’s did their damage in the first half, dominating Selkirk with a huge front eight that managed to push and bully their way into a 28-10 halftime lead.
A pair of early penalty tries, split by a Dashton Wellman place kick, handed the Edinburgh side a 14-3 lead midway through the half.
Kieran Cooney would catch their visitors off guard to move Selkirk within four points, after Wellman’s conversion, but Heriot’s title-winning quality was only a gear away and they shifted into it with ease.
Michael Liness and Jack Turley scored a pair of well-worked set-piece touchdowns, both converted by Wilson, as Heriots secured their try bonus-point and what looked to be a comfortable eighteen point halftime lead.
After the break, Selkirk’s mostly absent attacking instincts started to come alive as Heriot’s defence began to slowly began to unravel.
Andrew Renwick started Selkirk’s second half recovery, dotting down with Wellman converting that moved Selkirk behind, 17-28, but Heriot’s fought back again, putting together a drive of their own to keep their noses in front.
Murray McCallum scoring try number five after a strong set-piece opened a gap for the powerful prop to score.
Down 17-33 inside the final quarter, Selkirk worked Heriot’s defence hard, drilling them with continuous pick-and-drive phases before spreading the ball wide in a near flawless attacking move that stretched Heriot’s defence, Wellman finished off a brilliant attacking move.
The flyhalf picked himself up to deliver the conversion and would turn provider moments later, setting up scrum half Mikey Davies for try number four.
The conversion would be missed and so would the chance at a first league win as Heriot’s managed to hold off further Selkirk skirmishes and secure the 28-33 victory.
Whether Saturday’s valiant defeat is a new sign for Selkirk this season remains to be seen, but for one day at least the Philiphaugh side refused to go quietly into the night.