Sat 30th Mar - Kelso RFC V Aberdeen - 3pm KO - (13-34)
Kelso 13 Aberdeen Rugby 34 half time 13-17
A much improved Aberdeen side had too much firepower for an injury beleaguered Kelso in the semi-final of the National Cup. The city team were just too physical for Kelso and run out winners by 5 tries to 1. It was to Kelso’s great credit that they were still in the game at half time despite conceding 3 tries.
An early penalty by Craig Dods set the scoreboard running but the enormous pressure exerted by Aberdeen brought a try by Ben Inglis after Kelso just run out of tacklers. Bryn Perrott added the conversion and that try was followed 10 minutes later when, from the first scrum of the game, No 8 Greg Ryan controlled the ball at the base of the scrum to plunge over. The conversion was missed.
A clever kick and chase by Mark Wilson took the hosts into the danger zone and the visitors conceded another penalty which Dods slotted.
A penalty was awarded against Kelso at a defensive scrum and Ryan tapped and drove over whilst Kelso were still organising their defence. Perrott added the extra points.
A break by Gregor Mein followed up by Dods and captain Phil Hume, allowed Arran Jackson to make more ground. A Kelso penalty was stopped within the 10 metres and with the referee playing an advantage, Dods kicked towards the left wing where Jackson fielded and touched down. Dods converted from far out and Aberdeen centre Tom Aplin was yellow carded. That play took us to half time at 17-13 in favour of the northern side.
A Perrott penalty after 10 minutes of the second half stretched the lead. Aplin and Dods both were unsuccessful with long range penalties but a blistering move by the visitors backs allowed winger, Craig Shepherd to swallow dive over at the posts to give Perrott an easy conversion and Aberdeen a 27-13 lead as the game moved into the last quarter.
Kelso had a period of pressure which came to no avail and for the rest of the game and despite desperate defence and a yellow card against Kris Mein, the final score of the game through a penalty try as Kelso collapsed a scrum as it was being driven over their line. The automatic 7 points took the game well out of the home team’s reach and the cup run was over at 34-13.
The good news, however, was that the teams around Kelso in National 1 suffered heavy defeats and Kelso are now in 8th place but neither Hamilton of Kirkcaldy can catch them, so that guarantees National 1 rugby at Poynder for next season. It will be a new experience as 8 of the teams in the league will be newcomers with the new set up.
Kelso team: Arran Jackson; Mark Wilson; Gregor Mein; Craig Dods; Matt Kindness; Murray Hastie Phil Hume; Gareth Clark, Blair Robertson; David Leitch; Alex Thompson; Cammy Brown; Kevin Dryden, Kevin Wilson; Kris Mein
Replacements: Craig Sweenie; Fergus Common; Greg Cessford; Andy Tait; Angus Roberts; Gregor Miller; Craig Bruce
Scorers: Arran Jackson 1 try and Craig Dods 2 pens and 1 con