PREMIER DIVISION TWO
ALAN LORIMER reports from Riverside
JED gave themselves the chance of qualifying for the elite 10-team division next season after finishing third in Premier Two, and with it the opportunity to measure themselves against the likes of Hawick and Glasgow Hawks when Premier B kicks off on January 14.
On paper this had all the makings of a tense contest, given the clubs’ positions of fourth and third going into the match. Both teams were only too aware that fifth-placed Selkirk, facing leaders Stewart’s/Melville FP, could grab themselves a place in the top four by beating the Inverleith side and that such an outcome would turn the Riverside game into a winner-takes-all match.
So the news that Selkirk, who had kicked off an hour earlier at 2pm, were leading 17-3, concentrated minds at Riverside, but it was Jed who rose to the challenge. Playing skilful running rugby the Royal Blues were in total command in the first half and would surely have gone into the break with a bigger lead than their 15-6 interval advantage – from tries by Lewis Young, David Grieve and the impressive Darren Gillespie – but for a succession of penalties against them and stand-off Chris Laidlaw’s unfortunate off-day with the boot.
But it mattered not. The news, reaching Riverside that Selkirk had just lost out at Inverleith, meant that both Jed and Hamilton were safe in the top four. A more relaxed second half followed, bringing just two more tries. Young , who looked useful at full back, completed his brace to secure the bonus point and No.8 John Selfridge scoring a late touchdown for Hamilton.
“I hope this win will give us confidence,” stated Jed’s assistant coach, Kevin Barrie, adding: “We have to keep being ambitious. It’s tremendous that we’ve finished in the top four. The players have put heart and soul into getting there. They deserve to be where they are.”
Jed-Forest: L. Young; G. Young, A. McLean, E. Scott, D. Gobby; C. Laidlaw, J. Hogg; R. Ferguson, David Grieve, A. Croitoru, P. Hill, N. Cook, M. Weekley, Donald Grieve, D. Gillespie. Subs: A. Ions, A. Nagle, S. Scott, I. Chisholm.