ALTHOUGH Selkirk’s players came home empty-handed from Gala Sevens on Saturday, there was enough promise on show to suggest the Philiphaugh club’s supporters will have plenty to cheer about on the local circuit in the weeks ahead.
By the time the Souters lined up for their third tie of the afternoon against Peebles in the bowl semi-final, it was obvious that the nine players who had given so much in the previous night’s league victory over Stewart’s/Melville FP were beginning to feel the strain.
Pitched into what Radio Borders commentator Stuart McCulloch described as the tournament’s ‘Group of Death’ – alongside defending holders Jed-Forest and eventual runners-up Hawick – Selkirk’s players responded magnificently by coming within a whisker of defeating both sides.
In their opening tie against Jed, Selkirk were twice ahead in the contest, and in the dying seconds came within a conversion kick of levelling the scores. Jed eventually won 28-26, with Selkirk’s tries coming from Fraser Harkness, Angus Duckett, Scott Hendrie and Matt Kissick, with Rory Banks adding one conversion and Harkness two.
Against Hawick, the Souters led 21-12 at half-time through tries from Duckett (2) and Hendrie. However, two quick scores from the Teries brought the Mansfield men right back into the tie, and despite Mikey Davies scoring a try at the death, Hawick ran out 31-28 winners.
Selkirk’s third game of the afternoon was against Peebles in the bowl semi-final. A try by Banks put the Philiphaugh men ahead, but Peebles drew level to make it 5-5 at the break. Another Peebles score was answered by a try from Hendrie, created by Harkness’ sizzling break, but Peebles snatched the decisive try late on to triumph 17-10.
Host club Gala won the main trophy, with the shield going to Edinburgh and the bowl to Melrose.
Selkirk: A. Duckett, M. Kissick, E. MacDougall, F. Harkness, R. Banks, G. Craig, S. Hendrie, S. Forrest, C. McColm, M. Davies.