Sat 31st March - Kelso v Stewarts Melville 3pm KO (7-0)
Match Ball Sponsor
Kelso Allotment Society
Player of Match Sponsor
Renton and Gibson Joiners
BT National League Cup Semi Final
Kelso 7 Stewarts Melville 0 half time 7-0
It was a sunny day! Not a cloud was in the sky! Sorry, just kidding! That’s the start of a Paul Simon song. More appropriate would have been his version of a Hazy Shade of Winter.
It was a miserable day at Poynder Park after a night of rain followed by a morning of sleety rain. Both sides were short of key players mostly due to injury especially for Kelso after their chastening experience by Edin Accies last weekend at Raeburn Place. Stewart’s Melville were on a downer after their destiny in National 1 had been decided at Gala on Saturday past.
The game was punctuated by a series of handling errors and a succession of kicks downfield and line outs.
The first scoring opportunity of the game fell to Kelso after the visitors were found guilty of pulling down a maul, Gregor Mein struck the ball well but it drifted left and rebounded off the post. Stew Mel recovered from this let off with a half break by Nick McCashin taking play upfield. A couple of penalties against Kelso put themselves under pressure and they were perhaps fortunate not to concede but Freddie Roddick at scrum half played the ball at a scrum rather than allowing the forwards to continue their drive to the line. A penalty try had been on the cards but that has to go down as missed opportunity.
Kelso had territorial advantage in the first period but they had the advantage of a strong wind blowing towards the pavilion. This territory eventually paid off with a score on 37 minutes after what appeared to be about 37 phases of play. In the end, Kris Mein was driven over close enough to allow his brother Gregor to slot the conversion. Kelso turned round at half time with a 7-0 lead and that was how it was to stay at the end of the game.
To be fair, Stew Mel had the majority of the ball and territory in the second half and they stuck manfully to their task to try and break the Kelso defence down but there was no way through despite there being several chances. The usual plethora of replacements, most of whom were wearing number 17 or 18 for Stew Mel, added to the discontinuity in the game and the last 15 minutes was played out with Stew Mel pressing and with Kelso defending. Replacement Gregor Porteous made a blind side break into the hosts 22 but, whilst it appeared that he was running through treacle, he was hunted down. Prop Cameron Taylor did not make the job any easier for the city side when he was yellow carded, somewhat harshly, for a high tackle.
For such conditions, it was difficult for the players but they must have been relieved at the final whistle. I’m not sure how many could have coped with the extra 20 minutes had the scores finished level although there had been some stand out performances, mostly defensively, throughout the game by Blair Robertson, Gregor Mein, Paudie Lawlor and Kevin Dryden. So there we have Kelso winning their way through to the final against Dumfries on April 21st at a ground yet to be selected.
Kelso team: Ross Cooke, Matt Kindness , Gregor Mein, Phil Hume ,Kevin Wilson , Andrew Skeen, Andy Tait, Sam Karlsen, Ross Henderson, Blair Robertson, Keiran Dunbar, Paudie Lawlor, Kevin Dryden, Fergus Common, Kris Mein
Replacements: Charlie Marshall, Kieran Cooney, Allan Frame, Tony Wichary, Connor Gillon, Mark Wilson, Max Oliver, Angus Thomson
Scorers: Kris Mein 1 try and Gregor Mein 1 conversion