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SELKIRK SKIPPER CRAIG POINTS THE WAY FORWARD

Selkirk v Hawick.Gavin Craig

Selkirk v Hawick.Gavin Craig

ONE point from their remaining match against Peebles on February 2 will secure Selkirk a place in the National Cup quarter-finals.

That stage sees Scotland’s four British & Irish Cup representatives join the country’s four regional section winners in the draw.

A hard-fought 16-7 victory over Hawick at Philiphaugh saw Gavin Craig and his team take their fourth straight win in the regional pool stages – and the Selkirk skipper is eagerly looking forward to the Peebles encounter.

“It’s a while since Selkirk has had a good cup run,” he told The Wee Paper, “so all the boys are really chuffed to be still in the hunt and will give it our best shot to go through the competition unbeaten.

“We made life hard for ourselves in Saturday’s game by not taking chances when they came. Hawick are always a difficult team to beat, so credit has to go to our forwards for competing so well when we were down to 13 men at the start of the second half.

“We got stronger as the game wore on, and it was good to get the win for our supporters who have really got behind the boys this season.”

The home team’s cause wasn’t helped by the concession of a stream of penalties throughout the match, although, ironically, it was the yellow card shown to Hawick forward Hue Scammell for obstruction that allowed Selkirk to put their first points on the board.

The Souters soon exploited their extra man advantage. Craig broke wide and threw out a long pass to Josh Welsh, and the strong-running 19-year-old wing did well to hold off a couple of defenders and touch the ball down for a try in the right-hand corner.

Buoyed by this breakthrough, the Philiphaugh outfit launched a series of attacks, but Hawick’s defence proved equal to the task.

On the half-hour mark Steven Renwick notched up his 100th senior appearance for Selkirk when taking the field to replace Clément Lacour, who required two stitches in a head wound, but there was no further scoring and the half-time whistle sounded with the hosts 5-0 ahead.

Selkirk started the second half strongly – but were soon to be dealt a major blow. Michael McVie received a yellow card for what referee Gary Gordon deemed a dangerous tackle, and within minutes he was joined in the sin-bin by team-mate Scott Hendrie after the centre was penalised for coming in from the side at a ruck.

Opting for a scrum, Hawick skipper Greg Cottrell spotted a gap in Selkirk’s stretched back division and scampered over for a try in the left-hand corner. Lee Armstrong’s conversion put the Greens 7-5 in front.

For the next four minutes Selkirk’s players dug deep and managed to steer clear of further trouble and, with McVie back on, Scott Hendrie edged the home team back in front through a penalty.

With momentum now gathering, Selkirk crashed on and another attack saw Craig make a sharp break before handing over to Angus Duckett who sprinted over the line for the home team’s second try.

For the remainder of the match Selkirk continued to call the shots. Hendrie stepped up to send over his second successful penalty and make the game safe, although the Teries battled gamely to the end.

Selkirk prop Cata Graur was named the Four Seasons Forestry Selkirk Man of the Match.

There is no scheduled fixture for tomorrow.

 

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