Sat 28th Sept - Kelso 1st XV v Highland - 3pm KO
Kelso 26 Highland 27 half time 19-5
It was another roller coaster of a day at Poynder Park from the sadness of the minute’s silence for the passing of Sheila Laing, a great club supporter and volunteer, to an outstanding start by the team to dropping out of even a bonus point contention after 70 minutes to the euphoria of snatching a 4th try well into injury time and, by doing so, gaining 2 welcome bonus points but, sadly, no victory.
This was the first ever game between the 2 teams at Senior level although we came close to meeting in the mid -seventies when we were relegated as Highland gained promotion and a couple of years later the opposite happened. It was clear to see, in the end, why Highland are sitting near the top of Tennent’s National Division 1 with their fairly clinical performance in the second half when they went from 19-5 down at the break to a comfortable position by scoring 22 unanswered points in a 30 minute spell.
Kelso with the advantage of the slight wind in the first half, and on a beautiful afternoon, played their best half of rugby in the season so far. Robbie Tweedie opened the scoring after only 3 minutes with a try far out by finishing off a fine attacking situation with backs and forwards all involved. Craig Dods kicked a fine conversion.
Dods broke through himself to score an individual try after 13 minutes and he slotted the extras for Kelso to take a 14-0 lead.
Inevitably, the visitors came into their own with an extended passage of possession and it looked for all the world as if they would open their account when Will Moncrieff waltzed through a few tackles but Dwain Patterson arrived from nowhere to cut him down just short of the line. Outstanding Kelso defence held Highland at bay until scrum half, Hugo Crush, nipped over for a try well to the right of the posts after 28 minutes. The conversion by Scott Fraser was missed.
Kelso continued to press and were rewarded when their young wing forward, Archie Cowens, dived over for a try just before the break but if was too far out for Dods’s conversion.
At 19-5 Kelso would be well pleased with themselves but the Highland onslaught started straight away and eventually tries after 52 minutes by Andrew Simpson and 58 minutes by Crush again who must have felt that the Red Sea had opened up for him as he dashed 30 meters to score at the posts without a hand being laid on him. Fraser converted both of these tries to level the game. He took the visitors into the lead after 64 minutes when Kelso conceded their only penalty of the game: Highland were on the wrong end of 9 penalties, incidentally!
As we went into the last phase of the game, Highland stretched their lead when prop, Lewis Sinclair, showed a fair turn of pace to go over in the corner and seal the bonus point.
It was all Kelso in the last 5 minutes as they strove to get anything out of the game and, indeed, after good advantage was played by referee, Graeme Ormiston, centre Frankie Robson crashed over for the 4th Kelso try which was converted by Dods. They were close but no cigar as they went down by 27-26.
Kelso supporters must be wondering how you can lose by a barrowload one week and put up such a strong fight the next. That’s sport for you! There are some good young players in this team and they need all the encouragement they can get.
Kelso team: Dwain Patterson; Gareth Walker; Frankie Robson; Craig Dods, Robbie Tweedie; Murray Hastie, Andy Tait; Andrew Ford, Euan Knox, Blair Robertson; Alex Thompson, Angus Common; Archie Cowens, Fergus Common, Cammy Brown.
Replacements: Gareth Clark, Scott Hilton, Morgan Thompson, Harry Graves and Mark Wilson
Scorers: Robbie Tweedie, Craig Dods, Archie Cowans and Frankie Robson triesand Craig Dods 3 cons