Sat 23rd Nov - Kelso 1st XV v Dundee HSFP - 3pm KO - (26-10)
Kelso 26 Dundee High 10 half time 14-10
It was a horrible day at Poynder Park where Kelso welcomed their visitors from Dundee. Despite the fact that there were several injuries in the club, for, probably, the first time this season, Kelso went into the game as favourites, due to their recent run of much improved form, with their guests languishing at the foot of the league and in danger of being cast adrift from the rest of the clubs. This was also the last game in the first round of games with next week seeing the start of the reverse fixtures.
Kelso’s plans were given a knock back when Blair Robertson, on standby with his work, was called away at 2:40. He did return before half time, however.
Dundee played with the elements in their favour in the first half and started the better of the teams but it was Kelso who got the first points on the board after popping a penalty into the visitors 22. The line out was driven with Frankie Robson taking the ball on and then it was whipped along the line. Craig Dods threw out a long pass to Arran Jackson who fed it on to captain, Murray Hastie, who dotted it down in the corner. Dods converted with a fine kick in poor conditions. Kelso made a mess of the kick off reception and despite some initial solid defence, Dundee scored when scrum half Ruiridh Hood reached through a mass of bodies for the try. The conversion by Rory McGinn was missed.
Hopefully, that was a lesson learned by Kelso and, in fact, they extended their lead after some dexterous handling amongst the Kelso backs, Dods pounced to score near the posts. He converted his own try to take Kelso 14-5 ahead. Amazingly, the hosts again failed to deal with the kick off and a few minutes later Dundee scored following a driven line out through wing forward, Andrew Hamilton. Again the conversion was missed.
The visitors had an extended period of pressure and sorely stretched the home defence with Matt Kindness tackling more players than you would expect to see in the queue at the Pizza Express in Woking. Other pizza outlets are available!
The half ended with Kelso on the ascendancy and they were unlucky not to come away with a couple of tries.
Dundee conceded a penalty for dangerous play and from the line out following the penalty, Dods kicked to the stand side touch line. The ball bobbled a couple of times but Mark Wilson was there to get the touch down. Dods narrowly missed the conversion. Kelso were now 19-10 ahead but they were nowhere near safe. A spot of aerial ping pong ensued but Kelso concentrated on playing the game in the Dundee 22 with both Dods and Hastie putting in some long kicks forcing the guests to either run the ball back or kick it back to Kelso. This tactic seemed to work and after a penalty was nudged into the corner, Kelso won the 4 man line out but the reinforcements of the rest of the pack came flying in to drive the maul over the line for Blair Robertson to score the bonus point try. Again, Dods converted with a fine kick.
The hosts saw the game out with some more spirited play and they were close to increasing their lead through adventurous play by the backs in particular but the forwards, especially Paudie Lawlor, playing his first game on Poynder for a while, joined in for a fine team win with the final score being 26-10.
For Kelso, this was a third successive win, something which was not really on the cards a month ago. It also took then clear of Boroughmuir and to a position of snapping on the heels of Ayr for 9th place in the league.
There was also an improvement in discipline as they had fallen foul of this referee earlier in the season when he dished out 4 yellow cards and a red against Kelso. They conceded a few penalties but no cards by either side today.
Kelso team: Murray Hastie; Mark Wilson; Frankie Robson; Matt Kindness; Arran Jackson, Craig Dods, Andy Tait; Scott Hilton; Euan Knox, Gareth Clark; Archie Cowens, Paudie Lawlor, Gregor Walker, Jack Walker, Kevin Dryden
Replacements: Andrew Ford, Steven Patterson, Blair Robertson, Derek Welsh and Robbie Tweedie
Scorers: Murray Hastie, Mark Wilson, Blair Robertson and Craig Dods tries with 4 cons to Craig Dods