Sat 25 Sept 2021 - Kelso 1st XV v Stirling Wolves (26-18)
Tennent’s League Division 1
Kelso 26 Stirling Wolves 18 (half time 13-11)
It was another fine autumn day for playing and watching rugby. For Kelso, it was an opportunity to bounce back from the disappointment of the loss to Gala. Kelso made a couple of enforced changes to the previous week’s team but that is just a feature of the amateur game we are playing.
The first 4 scoring efforts were all penalties: 2 from Dwain Paterson for Kelso were countered by 2 by Jonathan Hope for Stirling. After 16 minutes, following a Kelso penalty which was kicked into the corner, Kelso drove the line out and when that was stopped, Archie Cowens took the ball on and this allowed Bruce McNeil to go over close enough to the posts for a straight forward conversion for Dwain Paterson to take him over 50 points for the season. The Stirling full back, Callum Beckett fielded a high ball but, unfortunately, was hit early by Billy McNeil before he returned to the ground resulting in a yellow card for Billy. The good news was that Kelso did not concede points whilst they were a man down.
Stirling came more into the game as half time approached, possibly as a result of changing their front row. Good Kelso defence kept them out but after a penalty just short of the hosts’ line, scrum half Keir Singleton took a quick tap and burrowed over so allowing Hope to convert. There was still time for Kelso to assault the visitors’ line but firstly Billy McNeil was held up on the stand side and then a foot in touch prevented a score on the far side in the scoreboard corner. So the break came with Kelso only 13-11 ahead. Their pressure and chances would have suggested that they should have been further ahead at the break.
Both sides were suffering from some dodgy handling errors as well as Kelso starting to suffer from the referee’s interpretation of several scrum misdemeanours, so preventing any great continuity. An offside penalty to Kelso 15 metres out was slotted by Paterson. This seemed to spur the Wolves into action and Kelso were forced to defend strongly and it took a couple of long touch finders by Murray Hastie to clear the lines.
A Matt Kindness burst through the middle took the hosts into a potentially strong position but a couple of cynically conceded penalties prevented further progress. It was, however, from the tapped penalty that Keith Melbourne was able to crash over for his first try for Kelso. Paterson converted to take Kelso 23-11 clear after 57 minutes.
It certainly was a day for tapped penalties as such an event resulted in a yellow card for captain, Andy Tait, as he tripped his opposite number as he tapped and attempted to make ground. The ensuing penalty was missed by Hope. Before Tait returned, Kelso increased its lead with a well struck drop goal by Dwain Paterson from around 35 metres so putting Kelso 15 points clear.
The game entered into a penaltyfest and there was no further scoring until on the last play of the game, Ben Salmon crossed for Stirling near the corner with Callum Beckett kicking a fine conversion to take the final score to 26-18 to Kelso.
As a result of this game and the fact that Biggar v Ayr was postponed, Kelso moved up to 3rd place in the league. There must be concerns, however, over the penalties being conceded as last week’s total of 30 in the game was ‘bettered’ in this match. That’s 59 points for the season so far for Dwain Paterson.
Team Mark Wilson, Matt Kindness, Dwain Paterson, Frankie Robson, Robbie Tweedie, Murray Hastie, Andy Tait, Ryan Toogood, Euan Knox , Morgan Thomson , Keith McNeil, Keith Melbourne, Archie Cowens, Billy McNeil, Bruce McNeil.
Replacements: Kevin Dryden, Charlie Marshall, Greg Cessford, Derek Welsh and Ben Lyall: all played.
Scorers: Dwain Paterson 2c, 3 p, 1 d; Bruce McNeil 1 t, Keith Melbourne1 t