Sat 15th January 2022 - Kelso 1st XV v Ayr RFC
Tennent’s League Division 1
Kelso 23 Ayr 3 (half time 20-3)
For the first game at Poynder Park for 2022, Kelso were without Murray Hastie due to illness and Mark Kindness due to unavailability. We were also without our normal Sponsors’ Lunch as, although it was meant to be Farmers’ Day, that had to be put on hold due to the Government restrictions on crowds inside.
The first game of the season was reasonably close and it looked, on paper, as if Ayr had travelled with a strong team as they had some ex Super 6 players who had chosen not to continue with their professional contracts.
It was a fine day for a game of rugby and the pitch was in good nick, however, it turned out to be a very stop-start game as penalties awarded exceeded the number of points scored and yellow cards came to a higher total than the number of tries scored. More of that later!
Dwain Patterson got the scoreboard going with a penalty in the 3rd minute but that was immediately countered by a Jamie Bova penalty for Ayr. Kelso regained the lead after 8 minutes when Keith Melbourne somehow managed to both go into a crowd of bodies with the ball and also to come out the other side with the ball after that he galloped 20 metres and dived over for the opening try which Patterson converted.
All of this had happened before the first scrum at which phase, Kelso showed an immediate superiority, but their style of scrumming was not to the referee, Greg Cameron’s, liking. There followed a succession of penalties against Kelso for dodgy scrumming and high tackles. Terry Logan was first to go in the bin after 30 minutes for assessing the referee’s performance somewhat harshly. He was quickly followed by Euan Knox for a high tackle. Amazingly, and there will be statistics to say what the average number of points a team concedes whilst missing a player on a yellow, Kelso defied all logic by scoring a good team try by captain, Andy Tait, allowing Patterson to slot an easy conversion. In the meantime, the Ayr kicker, Bova, found he had left his kicking boots on the bus and he missed a couple of straightforward kicks at goal. Just on half time, Patterson increased the hosts’ lead with another penalty to take them to 20-3 at the interval.
Kelso were back to their full team early in the second half. The sequence of scoring ended early in the half with yet another penalty by Patterson. Kelso tried hard to gain the try bonus point but their efforts were stymied. In the end, their defence held out but we did see another yellow card for Arran Jackson for a high tackle as he finished the game early. This was his first game for a while as he has been unlucky with injuries.
Round about this time my abacus gave up as the penalty count went beyond 30.
During the game, Kelso went past 50 tries for the season and recorded their 5th successive home win to take them temporarily into 3rd place in the league, although they have played a few more games than some of the teams around them in the league. A worry, sadly, was an injury to Terry Logan who walked off having received treatment but eventually an ambulance was needed for him.
Team: Greg Ponton, Angus Thomson, Arran Jackson, Frankie Robson, Angus Roberts, Dwain Paterson, Andy Tait, Ryan Toogood, Euan Knox, Terry Logan, Keith McNeil, Keith Melbourne, Kevin Dryden, Billy McNeil, Bruce McNeil.
Replacements: Charlie Marshall, Morgan Thompson, Angus Common, Archie Cowens, Mark Wilson: all played.
Scorers: Keith Melbourne and Andy Tait tries Dwain Paterson 2c, 3 p