1st XV vs Selkirk: Match Report
Twenty minutes into the game our stand-off, Nick McCashin, was helped from the field with a damaged wing. With his departure went, realistically, any chance we had to record a victory at Philiphaugh.
The attendance was less than usual at Philiphaugh, due, in part, to the clash with Yarrow Show. Some of the locals, including a few bemused collie dogs, looked as though they had decided to divide the day between the two highlights of the autumn – the visit of Stew/Mel and Yarrow Show.
There was a familiar face wearing the Number 9 shirt for Selkirk. Fraser Harkness, the Scotland Club international and sevens player, was pressed into service in an unfamiliar role, but any thoughts that this might dilute his influence on proceedings were mistaken as he appeared to relish the change of position. Selkirk do not have a big pack, but they have plenty of rugby, and we were unable to exert sufficient control to stop them playing to their strengths.
After a bit of initial jousting on both sides, smart back play and interchange with Coutts saw Hampton home. The conversion was missed but McCashin added a penalty soon after. At this stage it looked as though the previous week had been consigned to history. We had Sangster and Brewster back in the pack, and what a difference that made. Sangster is a player who leads by example and makes it easy for others to follow. There was something ominous, however, about the ease with which Selkirk replied through Kibble, with Welsh converting, after 20 minutes.
McCashin had departed by this time and his influence on our defensive lines was apparent as the re-jigged back division struggled to contain their lively opposite numbers.
Cata Graur forced his way over after half an hour to give Selkirk the lead, then popped up again minutes later to stretch the lead further. Both tries were converted to give Selkirk a 21-8 lead.
Selkirk scored again just before half time with a length of the field effort from that man Harkness, again converted by Welsh to make the scoreline 28-8.
Meanwhile, at Yarrow Show, things were hotting up in the stick judging section as no less than thirteen different categories of stick were being assessed – you don’t get that at Inverleith!
At half time your correspondent left Philiphaugh for the Borders General with Nick McCashin for an X-Ray. In fairness to Nick, in spite of his discomfort, he followed proceedings avidly on Facebook via his phone.
After half time a Welsh penalty and Duckett brace – both converted, to give Walsh a 100% record with the boot- had Selkirk clear at 45-8, but Brewster, with Rowlands converting, and Hampton had the last word to make the score 45-20.
Dave Hampton, with two tries, competed manfully throughout.
A defeat at Selkirk is not an unusual event in recent seasons so not too much should be read into it. Obviously the injury to Nick is going to make things difficult going forward, but we have the ability – we just need to show more belief.