Sat 21st Oct 2017 - Kelso V Cartha QP (31-29)

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Kelso 31 Cartha QP 29 (HT 24-14)

Kelso welcomed Cartha QP to Poynder Park with both sides desperate for the win.  It’s fair to say that both teams haven’t found life in BT National 1 easy but a win for either side would give them a huge confidence boost leading up to the November break.

Some of the spectators had barely sat down when Kelso opened the scoring through Flanker Kevin Dryden. It was a rip roaring start from the home side and they were immediately into the opposition 22 after a thumping run from Paudie Lawlor, the big Irishman had a very good day in the loose for the black and whites. The forwards recycled the ball and it was fed out to Dryden who finished like an outside centre!!!! Craig Dods couldn’t add the extras.

Kelso were not in the mood to let their visitors back into it and added a 2nd try through 2nd Row Kieran Dunbar. Quick thinking from Captain Andy Tait from a tap penalty advanced the Poynder men into the Cartha 22 and when the ball was fed along the line, it was left to Dunbar to finish well. Dods missed the conversion.

The home faithful were delighted with the start but there as more to come and Kelso scored a try through Outside Centre Ian Sim. It was a near on carbon copy of the Kelso try from Dunbar,  again the forwards got play into the Cartha 22 and the Kelso backs drew their men, Sim smashed his way over and continued his fine scoring run.  Dods added the extras and Kelso found themselves 3 tries to the good after just 12 minutes.

Kelso were fortunate not to lose Craig Dods through injury after he was hit with a very late and no arms tackle which was above the shoulders. The stand side assistant referee saw it but nothing seemed to come of the foul play, much to the disbelief of the Poynder Park faithful

The Black and Whites then took their foot off the gas a bit and Cartha made them pay. Tries for Calum Dickson and Fraser Paul were soft tries and Kelso missed too many tackles. Wayne Burrows added the conversions and the great Kelso start was wasted and Cartha were just 3 points behind.

Kelso managed to get another try before half time. Craig Dods kicked a superb kick into the corner and from the resultant line out the Kelso forwards drove for the line. Cartha held them just short but Captain Tait was on hand to burrow over. Dods added the extras.

Cartha started the 2nd half well and were causing Kelso a few issues in defence. Wayne Burrows kicked a penalty for his side when Kelso were pinged for not releasing in the tackle.

The Glasgow men didn’t let up and scored a try through Jinky Johnny Campion. The Scrum Half danced his way through a few tackles and scored a fine individual try. Burrows couldn’t add the extras but Cartha were only 2 points behind.

Cartha were then down to 14 men when Full Back Andy Scott was penalised for a no arms tackle on Kieran Dunbar. The young 2nd Row felt the full brunt of the hit but thankfully he was ok to continue.

Kelso then went for the kill and scored their bonus point try through Ross Henderson. The Kelso Hooker isn’t famous for scoring tries but he can thank his forward pals as a fine rolling moll was executed perfectly and Henderson touched down for the 5 points. Dods added the extras.

Campion was at it again and he scored another fine try for his side. Kelso Head Coach Gary Stevens wouldn’t have been too happy with some of the Kelso tackling but take nothing away from Campion and his dancing feet. The flying Scrum Half was injured in the act of scoring and took no further part in the game. Burrows added the extras and we were in for a hectic finale.

The last 10 minutes were frantic with both sides trying to get control of the ball. Cartha had a great chance to go in front when Kelso were penalised for being offside. Burrows stepped up but narrowly missed the kick. There was one almighty sigh of relief in Poynder Park.

Kelso managed to hold on and secure a very important 5 point victory.

I asked Head Coach Gary Stevens for his thoughts on the game:

The game started at a hectic pace with a weight of possession came three well-constructed tries. But the ease of these tries may have had an effect on our intensity and as we have done before we let in a couple of easy tries to keep them close. This trend stayed throughout the match and created the tense see saw match we witnessed.

The team has grown well into the structures put in place on attack and defence, but now it's time to for them to focus on their individual responsibility within the systems. This will go a long way to developing the game we want to play and control.

But in saying this we are happy to get the points and steadily move up the table to where we want to be.