Sat 28th Oct 2017 - Kelso V Edinburgh Accies
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Kelso 17 Edinburgh Accies 27 (HT 12-5)
Kelso welcomed table toppers and unbeaten Edinburgh Accies to Poynder Park hoping to try and upset the apple cart by gaining valuable league points. Accies have been flying of late and deservedly at the top of BT National 1 with 8 wins from 8 outings and securing 7 try bonus wins from their 8 matches. It was always going to be tough for Kelso and so it would prove.
Accies started the match at a frantic pace and were in front after only 4 minutes. James Pearse was the beneficiary of the hard graft done by his fellow forwards and he touched done after a perfectly executes rolling maul. Ex Melrose player Richard Mill couldn’t add the extras.
The men from the Capita were relentless and were completely denying Kelso of any ball. Their forwards were very fast around the field and the backs meant business from the off by showing that they would get the ball wide at any opportunity.
Kelso managed to weather the early storm and eventually managed to get some territory. Craig Dods stepped up and slotted a 40 metre penalty after Accies were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle. Kelso had the benefit of a very strong wind at their backs in the 1st half.
The home side edged ahead soon after when Dods slotted another fine penalty after Referee Kevin White had penalised Accies for being offside at the ruck.
Both sides were conceding a lot of penalties and White seemed extra conscious of the offside rule, where both sides were being penalised in the early exchanges.
Dods edged Kelso further in front with another penalty when Accies were pinged for side entry at the ruck and Dods helped himself to another 3 points.
Kelso were starting to take the game to Accies and were recycling the ball well. Accies defence was strong in the three quarters and managed to limit Kelso to very little territory. Bulldozing runs from both Gregor Mein and Iain Sim were gaining Kelso the really hard yards.
Dods kicked his 4th penalty just before the break and extended Kelso’s lead to 7 points. Accies were penalised for side entry at the ruck. Referee White blew his whistle for half time and the question at this point was had Kelso used the wind enough and were 7 points enough of a lead with Accies playing down wind 2nd half???
The visitors started the 2nd half like they did the 1st and Kelso were very early on the back foot. Accies were soon back in the game when Richard mill slotted a penalty after Kelso were penalised for handling on the ground.
It wasn’t long before Accies took the lead and winger Jack Patterson went over in the corner. The men from Raeburn Place had the ball on the Kelso 5m line and once the forwards had secured the ball, scrum half Sam Johnson fed the ball out and a fine miss pass from Mill looped over the Kelso defence and Patterson scored in the corner. Mill missed the extras.
Accies went for the kill and were immediately into the Kelso 22. Referee White had penalised Kelso a few times and he had seen one too many when Paudie Lawlor collapsed a maul and the big Irishman was sent for 10 minutes rest! From the resulting penalty, Accies decided to take the scrum and drove Kelso over and Scrum Half Johnson managed to touch the ball down amidst a melee that entailed. Mill added the simple extras and it looked like Kelso were dead and buried.
Kelso were trying everything to break down the stubborn defence of Accies. It was to their own downfall when the Kelso backs knocked on inside the Kelso 22 and Accies went over from the resulting scrum. Number 8 Robin Snape touched down to give the Edinburgh men their try bonus and Mill added the extras.
This rallied the home side and they came right back at Accies. Kelso were trying to play a fast attacking game as the clock was against them. Snape was shown a yellow card when he tried to slow things down a little too much, much to the displeasure of the Poynder Park faithful. Kelso took a quick tap penalty and Substitute Liam Tait smashed his way over. It was great to see Tait back in action after a horrific knee injury. Dods missed the extras.
Accies managed to control the ball in the last few minutes and White blew his whistle for full time.
It was probably a fair result but Kelso gave it their all and certainly made the unbeaten league leaders work for their victory. It has to be one of the best Kelso performances of the season but it would hurt coming away with nothing.
Kelso gave a debut to Kelso Harlequins player Matt Kindness. A young player with a big future ahead of him and it was great to see him make his senior debut.
Gary Stevens gave me his thoughts on the match:
Still close but no cigar. The team is playing confidently with the ball and can be threatening from all over the pitch. The issue now is to shut down opportunities for our opposition by playing smarter maintaining possession and building pressure on our opponents with and without the ball.
As we close on the end of the first round we can be confident in turning these close losses into wins in the second round with a lot of hard work during our training week.
Pleased with progress however it would be nice to start getting the rewards to show for it.
15 Ross Cooke
14 Angus Roberts
13 Iain Sim
12 Gregor Mein
11 Pierre Ebah
10 Craig Dods
9 Andy Tait
1 Sam Karlsen
2 Ross Henderson
3 Blair Robertson
4 Paudie Lawlor
5 Kieran Dunbar
6 Josh Irvine
8 Kris Mein
7 Kevin Dryden
16 Kieran Cooney
17 Cata Graur
18 Liam Tait
19 Kevin Wilson
20 Matt Kindness