A rejuvenated Hillhead Jordanhill team belied their lowly place in BT National One to push the league leaders all the way in a nervy, stop-start encounter.
Selkirk were expected to make short shrift of the Glasgow side in a top vs bottom clash, but the hosts clearly hadn’t read the script, taking the lead three times in the game and matching the visitors for commitment and effort.
Afterwards, Selkirk backs coach Cameron Cochrane said it had definitely been a wake-up call for the Philiphaugh players.
“Some of our boys just thought they had to turn up and another win would come along, but Hillhead are clearly beginning to gel as a team and stuck in well,” he said.
“A high error count didn’t help our cause, with too many passes being spilled and scoring chances not taken. That said, the boys were able to regroup in the second half and tighten things up.”
The hosts took the lead in the sixth minute from a Nik Jurisic penalty, but soon afterwards Selkirk edged in front thanks to an unconverted try by prop Cata Graur.
On the half-hour mark, Josh Welsh increased the visitors’ lead from a penalty. Two minutes before the interval, however, Hillhead stunned Selkirk with an interception try from Richie Graham, which Jurisic converted to make the half-time score Hillhead Jordanhill 10 Selkirk 8.
Some straight talking by the Selkirk coaches during the interval had the desired effect. Within two minutes of the restart, openside flanker Chaney Willemse was up in support of team-mate Darren Clapperton to take the offload and slice through the home defence to score his first try for Selkirk. Welsh added the conversion.
Jurisic kicked another penalty for the home team before Graham went over for his second try of the match, putting Hills ahead again with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Stung into action, Selkirk laid siege to the home try line. Although Hills managed to repulse this initial onslaught, an excellent counter-attack resulted in a try for Lewis MacLennan, again converted by Welsh.
Selkirk’s forwards began to exert increasing pressure on the Hills’ line and forced the retreating home pack to commit one offence too many for the referee’s liking, resulting in a penalty try being awarded. This not only sealed the result, it also meant that the visitors picked up a vital bonus point.