Selkirk bid to put winning seal on stellar year

Peter Wright: Joined in summer. Picture: JP
Peter Wright: Joined in summer. Picture: JP
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Selkirk are just 80 minutes away from going into the winter break unbeaten at the top of BT National League One.

If the Borderers can defeat Dundee HSFP at Philiphaugh this afternoon with a bonus point, it would mean they would head into Christmas with 14 wins from 14 matches and 65 points from a possible 70.

It would leave them in a great position to go on and clinch the title and a return to the top flight in 2015, quite an effort when they only finished fifth in the table last season and won just ten league matches during the whole campaign.

The turnaround in fortunes has been headed up by head coach Peter Wright, the former Scotland and British & Irish Lion, who joined the club in the summer from Peebles.

He is ably assisted by director of rugby and backs coach Cameron Cochrane while, on the pitch, experienced players like Kieran Cooney and Ross Nixon have led the team well in the 
absence of injured skipper 
Andrew Renwick.

From the start of the season, Wright was keen to give young players their chance and the likes of Calum McColm, Josh Welsh and Lewis MacLennan have been in cracking form.

The great performances shown by the first team in 
2014-15 helped Selkirk pick up the BT Club of the Month award for November earlier this week.

Selkirk president Mick Craig said: “All involved here at Philiphaugh are really chuffed to have received the award, as it adds to what has already been a successful season for us.

“There’s a lot of people we owe this to – the players and coaches for a momentous year on the park, and the background staff for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

“The performance of our first XV has been fantastic, if not a bit of a surprise. We lost more than 20 players from our senior squad last year and we looked to the younger boys and second XV to make the step up. They have well and truly exceeded our expectations.”

Meanwhile, South African back-row Chaney Willemse has impressed in recent weeks for Selkirk and it looks like he will be leaving the club soon having secured a professional contract back home with the Boland Cavaliers.

He plays today, but is set to head off in early February and the 21-year-old told the club’s website: “Boland play in the Currie Cup B Division and, in fact, I’ve already had some game time for them this year through my involvement with the SARU Academy, so I know the club well.

“I’m delighted to be offered this opportunity to progress to the next level. To play rugby professionally has always been my goal, and, hopefully, this is the start of a big future for me.

“At Selkirk, the players have been very welcoming and friendly, and they make me feel like they’re my brothers. The club’s supporters are also good people and always have smiles on their faces.”

Today Selkirk will not be taking the challenge of fifth-placed Dundee HSFP lightly, as they have won their last two matches.

Elsewhere, second-placed GHA are at home to Aberdeen Grammar, with third-placed Stewart’s Melville at Marr and Watsonians, in fourth, at Jed-Forest. Biggar also play Peebles and Hillhead/Jordanhill are at Kelso.

In BT National League Two, leaders Hamilton face a tricky test at in-form Aberdeenshire, while BT National League Three table toppers Lasswade travel to Dunfermline.