Sat 17th Feb - Kelso RFC V Selkirk 3pm KO (29-42)
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Kelso 29 Selkirk 42 (HT 24-20)
Kelso welcomed Border rivals Selkirk to Poynder Park on a glorious February day and the sun was even out!!! The last few encounters have proved to be very close and exciting, with the Souters sneaking the last match at Philphaugh with near on the last play of the game.
Kelso kicked off with the wind behind them and they were over for a try within the 1st 90 seconds of play. Craig Dods took the kick off deep to Clinton Wagman and he knocked the ball on. A good break from Josh Irvine took play towards the Selkirk line, the ball was recycled and Andy Tait burrowed over for the try. Craig Dods stepped up and slotted the conversion.
Kelso stayed on top and increased their lead just minutes later through a try by Josh Irvine. Kelso were awarded a penalty inside the Selkirk 5m zone and they decided to take the scrum. The scrum quickly drove Selkirk backwards and Mein touched down. Dods added the extras and Kelso were definitely on to early on.
Selkirk were rattled but soon got themselves on the score sheet. Kelso infringed at the ruck and Selkirk were awarded a penalty which they kicked for touch. The resulting lineout was taken and driven towards the Kelso line. Scrum Half Callum McEwan released his backs and when the ball found Steven Hamilton he had the simple task of coasting over for the try. Aaron McColm just missed the conversion.
The visitors then got more points on the board when Kelso were penalised for a silly high tackle, McColm stepped up and slotted the ball through the uprights.
Immediately Kelso had the chance of 3 points when Selkirk were penalised from the kick off for illegal use of the elbow, it was used as protection rather than foul play. Craig Dods stepped up and sent the ball over the bar.
This seesaw battle then took another twist when Hamilton bagged his second try. The former Peebles man went through weak Kelso tackles and then threw an outrageous dummy before speeding in for the try; it was a great individual effort from Hamilton. McColm added the extras.
Clinton Wagman was always a threat and he made a couple of fine breaks but the Kelso cover defence just kept him out.
Kelso then extended their lead with a cracking try by Andrew Skeen. The move was started by Craig Dods who rounded Selkirk prop David Anderson and then put in a cracking kick which Skeen collected, Skeen then gave Hamilton a tremendous sidestep and completely wrong footed the full back and Skeen sped in from around 35 metres. Dods added the extras and the Tweedsiders had opened up a 9 point gap.
With half time approaching Selkirk hit back. Speedy winger Josh Welsh evaded too many Kelso tacklers to score a fine solo try. McColm couldn’t make the extras.
Selkirk hit back early in the second half with a try through Centre Ross Nixon. Selkirk had a scrum close to the Kelso line and went through a few phases in the forwards. When the ball was fed to the backs Nixon took it himself and drove over the Kelso Line. McColm added the conversion.
Kelso then has a relatively easy penalty to get them back on level terms but the kick was missed. Aaron McColm didn’t ma the mistake when he was handed the chance just a few minutes later and he edged his side further in front.
Selkirk centre Darren Clapperton them scored a try for his side, sadly for the home side it was a case of missed tackles again and Clapperton went over. McColm’s conversion was charged down by Kelso winger Angus Roberts.
Remarkably Kelso were awarded their first lineout just under the hour mark!
Kelso were very close to scoring a cracker of a try when Andrew Skeen floated the most gorgeous of cross kicks and Angus Roberts was millimetres away from catching the ball and scoring. Referee Martin Maughan has been playing a penalty advantage for Kelso and they kicked the penalty to touch. From the resulting lineout Ross Henderson took advantage from a finely executed driving maul to score. The hooker is in fine scoring form of late.
With the clock ticking down Darren Clapperton then scored his second try of the match. Again, it was just too many missed tackles for Kelso albeit Clapperton isn’t the easiest man to bring down. McColm added the extras.
The clock hit 80 minutes and referee Maughan brought the afternoon’s proceedings to an end.
The end result was fair but a sore one to take for Kelso especially with it being a Border derby. Simply too many 1 on 1 tackles missed and something that Gary Stevens and his coaches will have to work on this week in training.
No rest for the wicked as Kelso host Falkirk this Friday night with a 7.30pm kick off.
I asked Kelso Head Coach Gary Stevens for his thoughts on the Kelso performance:
Full of confidence, the team started as we left off against GHA in a try scoring mood. However after accumulating a 14 point lead within 10 minutes some errors crept into our game which we haven't seen since the first round GHA match where we great with the ball but horrible without it.
Discipline and tackling gave plenty of opportunities to a dangerous Selkirk side which were duly converted into points and the match eventually got away from us and Selkirk ran out deserved winners.
Our patience and dogged defence that was at the forefront of our effort last week simply eluded us and we surely missed another opportunity to stamp our style and authority on a top four team.
It wasn't all dire with some great tries scored and facets of great rugby however in a midst of a hoard of basic errors it wasn't to be our day.
With plenty of lessons learnt and hopefully taken on board we look forward to another home clash with Falkirk this Friday night where I expect a more polished effort against what will be a passionate 'nothing to lose' Falkirk side.
15 Craig Dods
14 Kevin Wilson
13 Ross Cooke
12 Gregor Mein
11 Angus Roberts
10 Andrew Skeen
9 Andrew Tait
1 Sam Karlsen
2 Ross Henderson
3 Blair Robertson
4 Paudie Lawlor
5 Heino Gaiser
6 Josh Irvine
8 Kris Mein
7 Kevin Dryden
16 Charlie Marshall
17 Kieran Cooney
18 Angus Common
19 Fergus Common
20 Connor Gillon