DESPITE a downpour during the tea interval, Selkirk’s cricketers managed to keep their powder dry long enough to record a 90-run victory over Melrose in Saturday’s East League Division 3 match at Philiphaugh.

Selkirk skipper Greg Fenton presents a club plaque to Melrose captain Rowan Williams, marking the 150th anniversary of the club’s move to Philiphaugh.

The highlight of a contest played throughout in blustery conditions, was the maiden century scored by Selkirk’s Rory Banks, who finished on 103 not out.

His patient knock included one six and 12 fours, and was the second century scored by a Selkirk player in the past three days – Michael Fenton having hit 130 not out against St Boswells in a T20 game on Thursday.

Rory Banks celebrates after scoring his maiden century for Selkirk in Saturday’s match against Melrose.

At the close of their innings, Selkirk had reached 199-8, with Michael Fenton (25) and Kenny Paterson (22) lending solid support to Banks.

Elliot Compton (3-46) and the evergreen Callum Wilson (2-27) were the pick of Melrose’s bowlers.

Chasing such a large total was always going to be a big ask, and when both of the visitors’ openers departed cheaply, leaving the Huntlyburn side on 10-2, the writing looked to be on the wall.

Spirited knocks came from Josh Loftus (19), ex-Selkirk player David Playfair (17) and Callum Wilson (15 not out), with Melrose eventually dismissed for 109 in the 36th over.

Three Selkirk bowlers each took a brace of wickets – Rory Banks (2-9), Kenny Paterson (2-11) and Daniel Heard (2-29) – while no fewer than seven catches were pouched by the home fielders.

Prior to the game a minute’s silence was observed by both teams, in tribute to life-long Selkirk supporter George Oliver, who passed away on June 16. Fittingly the match winning wicket was taken by George’s grandson Blaine Gillie.

At the conclusion of Saturday’s game, Selkirk players, supporters and Melrose team members gathered on the Ettrickhaugh Road boundary wall – George Oliver’s favourite vantage spot – to raise a glass in his memory.
The Selkirk and Melrose players observe a minute’s silence in remembrance of life-long supporter George Oliver. 


SELKIRK opener Michael Fenton scored a dazzling century in his side’s Border 20/20 Cup victory over St Boswells at Philiphaugh on Thursday night.

The 34-year-old becomes the first Selkirk player to score a T20 hundred, and the first Philiphaugh player since 1999 to hit a century against a Border club.

Michael Fenton stands proudly in front of the scoreboard following his excellent innings on Thursday evening.

His innings of 130 not out contained one six and 19 fours, and Michael was quick to dedicate his knock to one of Selkirk’s most passionate supporters, George Oliver, who sadly passed away earlier this month at the age of 95.

“George used to bowl at me when I was younger, and was always encouraging me to practise and improve my game,” said Michael after the match.

“George never missed a match, and it’s going to be strange not having him on the boundary watching and supporting the team.”

Selkirk finished on 212 for eight at the end of their 20 overs, with Daniel Heard (32) and Barry Hewson (17) the home side’s other top scorers.

Aaron Hirtenstein (4-18) returned the Villagers’ best bowling figures.

In reply, St Boswells’ innings ended on 134-6, with skipper Scott Ruthven (39), Steven Laidlaw (35) and opener George Peto (24) all amongst the runs.

This was Selkirk’s fourth 20/20 win of the season, their only defeat to date coming at the hands of Gala.


George Oliver in familiar match day pose next to the boundary wall of Selkirk Cricket Club’s Philiphaugh ground.

NOT all sporting heroes are to be found indulging their talents on the field of play. Some, like Selkirk cricket enthusiast George Oliver, make their mark on the game by remaining outside the boundary rope.

Mr Oliver, who has died at the age of 95, was one of the country’s most passionate cricket followers. He first saw Selkirk play at Philiphaugh in 1936 when he was 10 years old, and over the next 85 years rarely missed a home fixture.

Spectating from the same spot on the ground’s southern boundary – his own home being situated just a cover drive away along Ettrickhaugh Road – he would follow the action out on the cricket square come rain, hail or shine.

“George has been an ever-present at Philiphaugh for as long as anyone can remember,” said Selkirk Cricket Club’s chair, Neil Gentleman, “and he is going to be a huge miss.

“A minute’s silence will be held in his memory at our next home match, while the club’s flag is being flown from the pavilion at half-mast as a mark of respect.”

A Souter born and bred, George played cricket when a pupil at Knowepark School (where he won the Dux prize), and would often bowl to some of the senior Selkirk players at net practice.

Leaving school at the age of 14, he spent four years working for the Forestry Commission based at Gatehouse-of-Fleet, before volunteering for the RAF.

After training at Bodmin he joined the Parachute Regiment, serving in the 8th Parachute Battalion. Only 18 at the time, he was unable to take part in the Paras’ famous ‘Rhine drop’, but later served for two years with the battalion in Palestine.

Pictured off-duty during his posting to Palestine with the 8th Parachute Battalion.

On being demobbed, his commanding officer gave George a glowing reference: ‘Corporal Oliver is extremely intelligent, loyal and always trustworthy. His keen brain and personal integrity will be an invaluable asset to any employer.’

Returning to Selkirk, Mr Oliver began work as a warper in Gardiner’s of Selkirk’s mill, and was encouraged by one of the directors to study at the Technical College in Galashiels with a view to qualifying as a designer.

This was one of the reasons he did not manage to play much cricket, often being required to study two to three nights a week for his design qualifications.

Asked to name some of the best Selkirk players he’d seen, George singled out the club’s legendary all-round internationalist John Greive. “He was a big hitter, and if a half-volley came up first ball, then it would go for six. No question.

“I was at the game in 1937 when he and his fellow opener, Tom Kyle, made a record-breaking 214 for no wicket against Carlisle. That was quite something.”

On June 23, 1961, George married Anne (née Bell), who at that time was working as a darner in Gardiner’s mill. The couple’s two daughters, Sandra and Joyce, were born in 1965 and 1967. Tragically, Sandra died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 31.

A keen gardener, Mr Oliver was well known for his dahlia and gladioli-growing exploits, winning a multitude of trophies on the Border flower show circuit.

Hill-walking was another passion, and alongside friends Pringle Gibb and Eb Riddell, the trio managed to walk the entire 240-mile length of Selkirkshire’s boundary in the space of just six days.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Selkirk’s move to its new ground at Philiphaugh, with the first visitors to the ground – on June 8, 1872 – being the Grange club from Edinburgh.

History repeated itself earlier this month, when Grange III played Selkirk in an East League match on Saturday, June 11, while Grange Old Stars took on Selkirk Ancients in a commemorative fixture the following day.

Both contests were avidly watched by George from his customary spot on the Philiphaugh boundary – the last Selkirk matches he saw, and a fitting way to bring the curtain down on his remarkable innings.

Mr Oliver is survived by his wife Anne, daughter Joyce and grandsons Jack, Frazer, Kyle and Blaine, to whom the deepest condolences are extended.

The funeral will take place in Selkirk’s Shawpark Cemetery on Thursday, June 30th, at 1.30pm

J. D. R. S.

Selkirk Fall Short for Fourth Victory in a Row

The Selkirk team prepare to take the field at Goldenacre on Sunday.  (Photo – JOHN SMAIL)

TRADITIONALLY Selkirk have struggled when playing matches on the weekend of the town’s Common Riding, and so it proved again on Sunday.

Conditions were perfect for the Souters’ East League Division 3 fixture against Heriot’s III at Goldenacre, with both sides keen to win the toss and bat first at the home club’s scenic ground.

In the event it was Heriot’s who took first use of the excellent wicket, and openers Thomson and McLaren put on 85 for the first wicket – each being dismissed just one run short of his half-century.

It was left to Shanmugavadivel (66no) to score the bulk of the Heriot’s runs, with the city team eventually finishing their innings on 206 for six.

Best of the Selkirk bowlers were Daniel Heard (2-30) and David Gardiner (2-33).

In reply Selkirk got off to a bright start thanks to solid knocks from Greg and Michael Fenton – the former scoring 20 runs in double-quick time, with Michael contributing a well-constructed knock of 35.

When both brothers fell to smart catches, the visitors’ best hope of overtaking the Heriot’s total rested on the young shoulders of former skipper Rory Banks.

Selkirk’s number five batsman didn’t disappoint, and went on to score a chanceless 51 before being bowled by the hosts’ tricky leg spinner, Phil Mitchell.

To their credit, David Gardiner (18), Kieran Toor (12no) and Adam Murphy (9) all battled gamely to keep the game alive.

However, the visitors were unable to master the wiles of experienced Heriot’s bowlers Kevin McLaren (3-21) and Mitchell (3-34), and were eventually dismissed for 166 in the 37th over.

This Thursday Selkirk play a Border 20/20 Cup game against St Boswells at Philiphaugh (6pm start), while on Saturday Melrose are the visitors to Philiphaugh.


SELKIRK managed to complete a quick victory over Grange III in Saturday’s East League Division 3 match in the wind and rain at Philiphaugh.

The captains agreed to reduce the game to 30 overs, in the expectation players would be spending some time taking cover in the pavilion. However, both teams played through the lighter showers and the pitch stood up well to a couple of heavy downpours. 

Selkirk skipper Greg Fenton presents opposite number Olly Davies with a club plaque prior to Saturday’s game.

Selkirk won the toss and elected to bowl, but found wickets hard to come by. Daniel Heard opened with four excellent maidens, but ultimately went wicket-less for the first time this season.

There were few chances early on, and it took a rash decision by Docherty (8) to bring the first wicket. The opener called for a run to a ball he hit straight to Kieran Toor at point, and was stranded half-way down the wicket when Greg Fenton removed the bails.

Progress was slow but Chatt (14) looked in touch, especially cutting off the back foot, and he and Pretty (22) gave few chances.

Adam Murphy eventually removed Chatt with the score on 35. Pretty was then joined at the crease by visiting skipper Olly Davies, and both played solid shots for little reward in the wet outfield.

Greg Fenton (2-7) replaced Paterson coming down the hill and took two wickets in consecutive overs.

At 53-4 and with 11 overs to come, Grange III were hopeful of passing the 100-mark. However, when Davies (21) fell to Michael Fenton the visitors couldn’t keep the scoreboard ticking over and finished on a total of 86. 

There have been lower unsuccessful run chases at Philiphaugh but, outside a first ball duck for vice-captain Kenny Paterson, Selkirk took control from this point onwards.

When Michael Fenton drove his second ball to the long-off boundary it was clear he was in the mood. This attacking mind-set was mirrored by younger brother Greg, who played the shot of the day with a straight drive to the boundary wall.

Other than a bungled run-out opportunity, the pair gave no clear chances, and when play was halted by a heavy downpour, the home team were 64 for one after 11 overs.

The match resumed 10 minutes later, and soon afterwards Michael Fenton (40no) steered the ball down to the rugby club fence for a pushed 3 to win the game, leaving brother Greg at the other end on 44 not out. 

Brothers Michael (left) and Greg Fenton pictured in front of the Selkirk scoreboard after their match-winning partnership.

This was the third league victory in a row for Selkirk, and with the Common Riding sports being staged on the field next week, Selkirk travel to face Heriots III at Goldenacre this Sunday hoping to make it four.

Selkirk and Grange III players pose for a joint photo before Saturday’s match. The Edinburgh club were the very first visitors to Philiphaugh back on June 8, 1872, so it was fitting the Portgower Place side was on hand to replicate that historic visit exactly 150 years later.  (Photo – Javier Ternero, Burnside Gallery)