Sat 14th Dec - Kelso 1st XV v Cartha QP - 3pm KO (25-26)
Kelso 25 Cartha Queens Park 26 half time 17-12
One would have thought that going from a 95 point deficit in the early season game to a 1 point deficit would have been a source of comfort for the Kelso squad but that was not the case as they put so much into the game on Saturday but came up just short. The disappointment was etched on their faces at the end of the game.
Kelso played into the wind in the first half but got the scoreboard rolling as early as the 2nd minute when Cammy Brown crossed for a try after a break by Paudie Lawlor was taken on by Craig Dods who kicked into the Cartha 22. The clearance kick was caught on the full by Mark Wilson and the ball was whizzed along the line for Brown to go over. Craig Dods converted to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
The lead was, however, short lived when Ethan Paterson was driven over from a line out to reduce the leeway for Cartha.
Shortly afterwards, good interplay by Kelso took the ball up to the visitors line. They were penalised, Kelso took a quick tap and from the ensuing maul, Gareth Clark was driven over. The conversion was missed.
The next score by the city side was as a result of slack defence by Kelso. Stand off Darren Knox put in a speculative kick to the corner for CQP after they won a line out on the left. It appeared that the defence had the situation covered but the kick to put the ball dead failed to do so and Thibault Pin, who followed up at pace, dotted down for the try. It was not an easy day for goalkicking but Number 8, Mick Robertson, converted from the touchline to level the scores at 12 all.
Undeterred, the home side went upfield through fine play by Lawlor, Matt Kindness and Frankie Robson. They were held up just short but Clark arrived on the scene to score his second try of the day. Again, the conversion was missed but Kelso kept up the pressure enough for Cartha to transgress conceding yet another penalty. Michael Nellany took one for the team and was yellow carded for persistent infringement. At the same time there appeared to be an incident of foul play on Matt Kindness which was completely missed by the referee. Where are the assistant referees when they are needed? Not in National League 1, that’s for sure.
The ball was being moved around by both sides and after a tap penalty, Kelso thought they were in for another try but the referee recalled them for a forward pass with Cammy Brown racing for the try line. A good finish to the half by Cartha brought us to half time at 17-12 to Kelso.
The second half started with a period of ascendancy for the visitors and the Kelso scrum seemed to be in a spot of bother. The penalties followed and so did the yellow card for Blair Robertson. In his absence, Cartha managed to score through their captain, Calum Dickson, following a scrum far out. The conversion by Robertson was again successful to put his side in the lead for the first time.
Dods regained the lead for the home side with a well struck penalty but worse was to come for Kelso and they got a double whammy when Angus Common was yellow carded for allegedly pulling down the rapidly moving driven maul. A penalty try ensued and a 7 pointer for Cartha.
With less than 5 minutes left and now down to 14 men, the hosts strove hard to get something out of the game. A penalty was popped into the corner and from the line out, Alex Thompson forced himself over after some good handling amongst the forwards. The bonus point was achieved! The conversion was missed but Kelso still had another opportunity when they recycled the ball and after about 10 phases of play, a drop goal attempt by Dods went wide.
And that was that, apart from a strange end to the game when Lawlor was poleaxed as he started a run up the middle of the field. Result: penalty to Cartha and end of the game. Strangely, both teams seemed to play better into the wind!
The festive feeling before the game was somewhat dissipated by the way the game ended but Kelso can be pleased with their first half performance but concerned by the number of penalties they conceded in the second half. They maintain their place as 9th in the league but with a little less clear water between them and the chasing Boroughmuir who picked up a win against hapless Dundee High.
Kelso team: Murray Hastie; Mark Wilson; Frankie Robson; Matt Kindness; Dwain Patterson, Craig Dods , Andy Tait;; Andrew Ford Euan Knox, Gareth Clark; Paudie Lawlor, Alexander Thompson, Angus Common, Fergus Common , Cammy Brown
Replacements: Blair Robertson, Scott Hilton, Derek Welsh, Jack Walker and Gregor Millar
Scorers: Gareth Clark 2, Cammy Brown and Alex Thompson tries and Craig Dods 1 conversion and 1 penalty