Sat 7th Oct 2017 - Kelso V Gala (21-36)
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BT National League Division 1
Kelso 21 Gala 36 half time 9-17
A fine, sunny day welcomed the teams to Poynder Park, where Kelso needed the points to stay clear of the bottom pack, whereas Gala were keen to stay in the promotion stakes, albeit it is still early in the season.
Kelso had a late change with Phil Hume dropping out to be replaced by Angus Roberts. Remarkably, there were 7 players who had played for the opposition in the past. Kelso drew first blood when Craig Dods converted a penalty from 45 metres but there followed a passage of play with Gala on top and Kelso conceding penalties. Gregor Hunter kicked the first 2 into touch in the Kelso 22 but nothing came from then so he attempted to kick the next 2 for goal to no avail. Gala, however, opened their account after 13 minutes when the young right winger, John Turnbull, raced in at the corner to finish off a good passing movement with Gala creating an overlap which Kelso could not counter.
Kelso seemed to be taxing the referee’s patience as they conceded another scrum penalty. Hunter popped it into touch in the corner and, despite spirited resistance by the home defence, the dam burst and Alan Emond dashed in at the same corner.
Kelso just could not get hold of the ball but a good passage of play brought them back into the game as Dods chipped over a couple of penalties. There followed a massive barrage on the Kelso line and after a succession of scrum penalties, the referee awarded a penalty try against Kelso to take the half time score to 17-9 to the visitors.
Kelso started off the second half with some enterprising rugby and the Gala full back had to take the ball into touch just short of the Gala line. Kelso won the line out and drove over for a try by Cato Graur who, by this time, was carrying the scars of battle.
That only slowed down the bonus point for Gala which came when Rex Jeffrey waltzed through the Kelso defence after good bullocking play by the Gala forwards. Hunter converted this one, as he did immediately after when skipper, Graham Spiers, strolled in to take Gala 17 points clear.
A break down in the Gala attacking line allowed Andrew Skeen to chip the ball towards the try line for a simple touchdown and an easy conversion for Dods.
The game was starting to be a little disjointed at this stage with all of the replacements on and there were several very tired bodies on the field. Gala completed the scoring when Spiers burst into the line and fed Craig Russell who sailed over in the corner.
There was still time for a charge at the line by Kelso with some good play by the Meins and Skeen, with Kieran Cooney adjudged to have been held up over the line. It was not a decision which was met with universal approval by the Poynder faithful. Terry Logan managed to get himself a yellow card for over robust play and the game finished with a good run into the Gala 22 by Kris Mein.
So we had a 36-21 victory for Gala to stay in contention at the top of the league so setting themselves up for the top of the table battle next week against Edinburgh Accies.
Kelso team: Craig Dods, Ian Sim, Gregor Mein, Angus Roberts, Ross Cooke, Andrew Skeen, Andy Tait.
Blair Robertson, Sam Karlsen, Cato Graur, Paudie Lawlor, Heino Geiser,Ally Johnston, Kevin Dryden, Gregor Mein
Replacements: Ross Henderson, Kieran Cooney, Kieran Dunbar, Kevin Wilson and Pierre Ebah
Scorers: Andrew Skeen, Cato Graur tries with Craig Dods 1 con and 3 pens
Gala Graham Spiers, John Turnbull, Rex Jeffrey, Alan Emond and Craig Russell tries with 1 penalty try and 2 cons by Gregor Hunter