Selkirk do what they need to – but they must improve

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Selkirk survived a surprise scare against Kelso at Philliphaugh on Saturday, the Souters eventually squeezing out a hard-fought victory.

Early insouciance turned into frantic desperation for Selkirk, but despite being second best in a number of set-pieces and lamentably disorganised at the breakdown, a 10-point second half effort and complete shut-out of Kelso ensured the home side joined Melrose atop the Border League.

A first half brace from Selkirk hooker James Batt and seven points from the boot of Cameron Gregory-Ring against an Ian Wallace touchdown and a pair of Andrew Skeen penalties for Kelso left the scores finely balanced at 17-11 at the half-time interval.

The second 40 minutes proved to be one-way traffic, as Lewis MacLennan latched onto a wild Dom Buckley pass to race the length of the pitch before new signing Cata Gaur sneaked over from close-range, following a catch-and-drive line-out, to secure the bonus-point victory.

The major disappointment for Selkirk supporters and for their coaching staff was that the home side looked at times slick, sharp and penetrative with the ball in hand, but far too often appeared to lack any consistent understanding between themselves, with passes dropped or misplaced.

“ It’s a good win, but there are a number of things still needing work,” said Selkirk’s James Belt. “We started slow, but picked things up in the second half. Overall, it wasn’t really the performance we were looking for as we prepare for Gala this weekend.

“We have a number of new boys who joined the club this off-season so performances like that are always possible, but ahead of this weekend we are going to have to step up a level if we are going to compete in the Premiership this season.”

Kelso caused Selkirk problems throughout, growing with confidence as the game progressed.

The visitors went close to doing more than causing the home side a fright, but despite some neat interplay were ultimately thwarted by their inexperience and lack of depth.

“We had seven 18-year olds making the step-up from the Harlequins and they managed to log some valuable first-team experience, and acquitted themselves well, which aside from everything else, was a very big positive for us to take,” said Kelso head coach Adam Roxburgh.