Sat 2nd Mar - Hamilton V Kelso RFC - 3pm KO - (13-17)
Kelso 17 Hamilton 13 half time 10-5
We are approaching squeaky bum time in the closing few games of the league campaign. Kelso have their future in their own hands as, before today’s game, they had 3 of the teams below them still to play. However, other clubs were in the same boat and the incentive is there for all. In all likelihood, there will be 2 teams relegated from National 1 but there still has to be a vote on the new set up at the up-coming SGM of the Scottish Rugby Union. It seems strange that we are almost finished the season but we don’t know the set up for the next season.
Kelso has not done too well on the road this season with only a solitary away win against Cartha Queens Park so far but their recent good win in the cup against Kirkcaldy had them well enough prepared for this game.
Conditions at Hamilton were not great as the latest storm Freya was on its way. Hamilton played into the rain and heavy gale in the first half but they launched phase after phase into the Kelso 22. Patient play and looking after the ball well, gave the Bulls an opportunity to release Ben Plant over in the corner for the opening try after 7 minutes. The conversion was missed.
There was no doubt that the wind was preventing flowing rugby and the next 20 minutes of the game amounted to intense defensive efforts by both sides. A stolen 5 metre line out by Hamilton turned out to Kelso’s advantage when the bouncing ball popped up into the hands of Blair Robertson to record the touch down. Craig Dods converted this try and just on half time, he kicked a mid-field penalty to take Kelso in at the break 10-5 ahead.
Kelso now had the dubious pleasure of playing into the wind and they put up a brave concerted effort to keep the hosts at bay. However, after 10 minutes, flanker Robert Brown latched on to a loose ball about half way and he broke clear to score a try in the corner to level the game at 10-10 as the conversion was missed.
Hamilton retook the lead after Kelso conceded a penalty, which McLeish coolly knocked over.
The Bulls’ propensity to concede penalties allowed the visitors to gain a foothold in the hosts 22. Substitute flanked, Charlie Craig, was yellow carded. Kelso played smart rugby by running tapped penalties and they embarked on a phase of forward drives, drawing in the hosts’ defence and, eventually, when the ball was released to the backs, centre Matt Kindness forced his way over for the try to take Kelso ahead. There seemed to be some debate over the validity of the score. Was it a knock on? Maybe! However, there was no TMO to adjudicate and the try was awarded, with Dods converting to see out the match with a hard fought win by an extremely narrow margin of 17-13.
Well done to both sides as it was not a pleasant day. The widest smile of all was on the face of Matt Kindness. It was not only the winning try but it was also his comeback from a horrific leg break at the Quins Sevens 11 months ago.
So that leaves 3 games to go with our next match at home against Cartha QP who are 1 place below Kelso but 6 points adrift.
Kelso team: Murray Hastie; Mark Wilson: Kevin Wilson; Gregor Mein; Arran Jackson; Craig Dods; Phil Hume; Michael Downer; Charlie Marshall; Blair Robertson; Cammy Brown; Angus Common; Tony Wichary; Kevin Dryden, Kris Mein
Replacements: Gareth Clark; Robert Hastie; Greg Cessford; Gareth Walker and Matt Kindness
Scorers: Blair Robertson and Matt Kindness tries and Craig Dods 2 conversions and 1 penalty