GALA may be top of the Premiership – but George Graham’s men will have to keep their wits about them at Netherdale tonight if Brian Cassidy’s plot to scupper the Maroons is anything to go by.
“They are a strong, well-organised outfit and I would go as far as to say that they are probably the best club team in Scotland at the moment,” said Selkirk coach Cassidy.
“Bearing that in mind, there is no point going out there and sticking to a game plan as they will be prepared for that and come down on us like a ton of bricks.
“The winner of this game is likely to win the group and make the Border League final.
“The Border League is important to us and so we will be looking to do as much damage as possible. I have told the team to go out and play, run the ball at every opportunity and do things they aren’t expecting us to do.
“If we play a bit harum-scarum and knock them off their game plan, then who knows what could happen.”
Having already beat Kelso twice this season, however, Cassidy knew exactly what the game plan would be last Saturday afternoon.
And it worked. Playing in their first RBS Regional Cup tie of the season, the Souters ran roughshod over their Border rivals to run out with a 39-11 victory.
Cassidy made several changes from his usual starting line-up and after a slow start the game began to take shape.
“All credit to Kelso for pushing us so hard in the first half,” he commented.
“Our players knew they needed to show more discipline, urgency and control after the break. We didn’t try to force things as much in the later stages of the game, and as a result things began to fall into place.
“I thought the young players we brought into the side all acquitted themselves well, with teenagers Michael Waldron and James Bett coping well in the front row. These boys need game time at this level to see what senior rugby is all about, and they’ll have benefitted from the experience.”
The Poynder Park outfit made all the early running and took the lead in the fifth minute through a Murray Hastie penalty, but Michael McVie replied in kind soon afterwards to level the scores.
A Stuart Lawrie try and a Hastie penalty put the visitors in front and for once Selkirk were made to defend for a spell.
Just before the break, however, the ever-alert Matt Kissick gathered the ball and was driven over for Selkirk’s first try. McVie’s conversion made the half-time tally 11-10 to Kelso.
Callum Johnston burrowed his way over for the Souters’ second try after the restart and the floodgates opened.
The new urgency in the home side’s play was epitomised by man-of-the match Darren Clapperton who’s ingenuity on the wing won his team both ball and space, as well as earning himself a hat-trick of tries.
The remainder of the points were scored by McVie who slotted three conversions and a penalty.