A LARGE crowd gathered at Philiphaugh on Saturday to watch Selkirk take on Marr in what proved an interesting match-up, with five tries shared between the two sides.
Selkirk found themselves up against an in-form Marr side who have won 17 of their 18 games in BT National League 1 this season, and currently sit top of the table.
There was added interest in the forwards’ match-up, where home captain Ross Nixon found himself in the unfamiliar position of blindside flanker. He drew on all his experience to put in a solid performance, being in the thick of the action throughout,
Marr opened the scoring in the ninth minute through a penalty from stand-off Colin Sturgeon following a ruck infringement, then stretched their lead when a driving line-out maul saw hooker Stephen Adair cross for the game’s first try.
The visitors scored again through No. 8 Ben Johnston, who picked up from the base of a scrum and powered over the line. Sturgeon added the conversion to put Marr 15-0 ahead.
Selkirk then showed some attacking flair of their own after full-back Ciaran Whyte cleverly collected his own kick, with the ball then being shipped wide to winger Tythan Adams, who was tackled into touch just short of the line.
Just before the interval the Souters’ scrum prevailed on their own try line to win a penalty and clear their lines, bringing a rather one-sided first half to a close.
The sunshine came out for the second half and so did Selkirk’s fighting spirit, embodied in young back row replacement Josh Mackay. The Youth Club skipper took the field early in the second period, winning a turnover with his first touch of the ball - much to the obvious pleasure of the home crowd.
Marr’s Johnston again proved a handful when he broke through the home defence and off-loaded to winger Scott Bickerstaff, who raced under the posts for a try, converted by Sturgeon, putting the visitors 22-0 ahead.
Selkirk’s two other replacements, Jack Houston and Callum McEwan, also made their presence felt in the second half, with Houston showing good handling skills and looking dangerous in attack, while scrum-half McEwan injected real tempo into proceedings with sniping runs in and around the rucks.
Selkirk finally got on the scoreboard when Ciaran Whyte chipped over Marr’s defence, Tythan Adams showed blistering pace to overtake the covering defenders, before cleanly gathering the ball and sprinting clear for a fine try.
With 10 minutes to go, Selkirk showed no signs of fatigue when stand-off Callum McColm ghosted through the Marr defence and off-loaded to McEwan, who neatly chipped the ball into the arms of skipper Ross Nixon, who scored under the posts. Josh Welsh added the conversion, making the final score 22-12 to Marr.
The Four Seasons Forestry ‘Selkirk Man of the Match’ award went to Josh Mackay.
Selkirk: C. Whyte, T. Adams, D. Clapperton, L. MacLennan, J. Welsh, C. McColm, M. Davies, K. Cooney, J. Bett, C. Graur, P. Forrest, B. Siyothula, R. Nixon, M. Robertson, E. MacDougall. Replacements: J. Mackay, J. Houston, C. McEwan.