Souters defend to the end in top-of-the-table battle

Watsonians vs Selkirk. Gavin Craig.
Watsonians vs Selkirk. Gavin Craig.
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Despite the threatening skies, the Myreside pitch had stood up well to the earlier torrential downpours and the scene was set for an almighty tussle.

The visitors looked the livelier in the opening exchanges, and they took a deserved lead after only five minutes when Scott Hendrie, deputising for the injured Josh Welsh in the kicking duties, converted a straightforward penalty.

The Souters were setting up some good phases, and early examples of pace and skills from the back division were promising omens.

Tricky conditions led to mistakes being made by both sides, but commitment levels were at 100 per cent. Watsons were winning quality ball at the line-outs, giving their well-drilled pack good opportunities to drive forward.

However, Selkirk did not panic and worked their way back into opposition territory where an offside decision against the home team gave Hendrie his second successful penalty of the afternoon.

This simply stirred Watsonians into action and they proceeded to spread the ball wide at every opportunity. Selkirk defended well, but eventually pressure told as the cover was stretched, allowing winger Ramsay Young to scamper over for the first try of the game. As half-time approached, Selkirk extended their lead with a peculiar turn of events. An innocuous kick toward touch was deflected back into play by a defender, who was determined to prevent the ball from going dead. That proved to be a poor option as the ball was parried back into the path of the alert Scott Hendrie, who then showed footballing skills and a turn of pace to win the race for the touchdown.

On the stroke of half-time a Selkirk line-out 10 yards out from the Watsons’ line looked set for a catch and drive. However, Angus Duckett broke to the blind side and released a scoring offload to hooker James Bett. Hendrie’s touchline conversion stretched Selkirk’s lead to 18-5 at the interval.

The second half saw a resurgent Watsonians pounding the Selkirk defences.

A penalty saw Chris Abram reduce the deficit, while a Ben Di Rollo try under the posts was easily converted.

With the score sitting at 18-15 in Selkirk’s favour, it looked a racing certainty that the Souters’ rearguard would buckle again in the final quarter. However, that proved not to be the case as the entire team put bodies on the line time after time to protect their narrow lead.