Soaring Souters see off Biggar challenge

Selkirk try scorer Josh Welsh makes a break
Selkirk try scorer Josh Welsh makes a break



The visitors pushed the table-topping Souters every step of the way in a no-holds-barred encounter at Philiphaugh which saw Selkirk keep their 100 per cent league record.

After the final whistle, Selkirk head coach Peter Wright said it had been a tough game against a tough team.

“We knew Biggar would come at us hard, and that’s exactly the way things turned out,” he added.

“That said, the character of this squad came through in the end. Today we showed everyone we can play hard-yard rugby, and that’s the kind of focus the team’s going to have to maintain in the weeks ahead.”

The intensity of the contest was arguably the most memorable aspect of the match, with both sides’ rapid line speed in defence more often than not ensuring ball-carriers received a thumping tackle a fraction of a second after receiving the ball.

Playing with the breeze at their backs, Biggar made by far the stronger start and after 13 minutes the Hartreemill men went 3-0 ahead from a Graeme Hunter penalty after a Selkirk player was found guilty of not releasing.

The home team hit back in the 22nd minute with a typically polished piece of finishing from Scott Hendrie and with no more scoring in the half, the league leaders went in at the break only 5-3 ahead.

Selkirk’s new Australian second row recruit Mitch Utteridge came on to make his debut for the club at the start of the second half and, with the wind now at their backs, the hosts immediately laid siege to the Biggar line.

The breakthrough came in the 54th minute when hooker James Bett charged down Hunter’s clearance kick, beating team-mate Lewis MacLennan to the touchdown to score Selkirk’s second try with Josh Welsh converting.

The game came to a halt soon afterwards when Biggar wing Craig McDonald suffered a nasty knock to the head and after several minutes of medical attention on the pitch, the player was stretchered from the field – an ambulance later taking him to Borders General Hospital. Following precautionary X-rays and further examination, he was later allowed home.

In the final quarter of the match the Souters began to turn the screw, with a series of scrums and lineouts deep in Biggar territory resulting in tries for Gordon Patterson and Utteridge, both converted by Welsh.