Club Update- September 2021

By the time you read this, the Quins will have played a game, the Firsts and Seconds will have played some warm up games against Hawick, Alnwick and Berwick and in some Sevens tournaments with a fairly young squad. The Firsts and the Ladies will be preparing for their first league games. So, it is all systems go! We start with an away match against Cartha Queens Park on Saturday 4th September followed by a visit from Highland on the 11th. Hopefully, membership cards will be available to purchase that day. If you are coming along to the games at Poynder Park, please, note that we can no longer use the Old High school for parking as it is now a building site. There will be restricted parking at lower Poynder which may be accessed from Croft Road. The Ladies start in Glasgow as well with a match against West of Scotland on Sunday 5th, followed by another away game against Broughton in Edinburgh on the 12th September.


The past month has been, as usual, a busy time down at Poynder as the kitchen has been refurbished and the Clubrooms are in regular use to community groups, especially during the day.


The major event of the month, however, was the Annual General Meeting which took place on Wednesday 11th August. That is quite late for us but we were keen to have a face to face meeting as most folk are Zoomed out.

The meeting was well attended with around 40 members present. The Financial report was pleasant listening but just as we have no income, we also had no major expenditure over the season. We have survived on grants from various sources and the generous membership and sponsorship received through the season even although there was no rugby.

Scott Forbes continues as President and he is hoping for some rugby in his second year in office. He has, however, now seen Kelso play in some of the pre-season rugby so he is well ahead of last season. His Vice-President is Neil Hastie who is a weel-kent face around the club! There were a couple of changes in the Constitution approved as well as mention being made of various documents which have been worked on over the lockdown eg Child protection policy, GDPR policy, Club business plan.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was the nomination and approval of Jim Wilson as a Life-Member. Jim has been involved with the Kelso Club since 1962! He spent many seasons as a first team player including playing a game on the wing against Hawick. Jim Hewit was on the other wing! Jim was captain of the Seconds in his time and, on finishing playing, he moved on to the Committee and has spent many years of valuable service especially as manager of the Firsts and chief pitch dresser. That means he put the post-protectors and touch flags out! A well-deserved honour!

Unfortunately, we have had a couple of COVID close downs. One of the players became positive so that shut down training and the Gym and then we had a positive test for an attendee at a meeting in the downstairs Hall so that was the end of community use of the hall for 5 days whilst it had another deep clean. I suppose there is certain inevitability of this happening.


Disappointingly, the Summer skills camps were affected by the latter episode but, in the end, the camps went ahead and were both well attended by some seriously enthusiastic youngsters. Thanks to all the young coaches who came along and helped out on the 5 days of the camp.


Sunday 8th August saw the Doddie Cycle pass through Kelso with Poynder Park being one of the feeding stations. The Ladies section were up at the crack of dawn to do the registration of competitors at the Greenyards. The event was blessed with good weather whilst they were in Kelso but apparently some of the riders got a good soaking. Some riders even did the 60 mile route on electric bikes. That’s cheating, surely!


What about the Lions? The tour was riddled with controversy from selection, to style of play, to apparent inability of the match officials and even a non-neutral TMO. I suppose it depends on your nationality but some Scots seemed to go well without test selection coming their way. Of the eight Scots selected, only one did not play in a test match and Finn Russell came on for his 70 minutes of action in the third test. We saw what might have been if he had stayed fit. For some of the tourists, it was an early finish to their tour as they did not play any rugby once the tests started. I don’t know what you can do on a tour if you are not going to play again and you are not allowed to be a tourist eg play golf or visit South African wineyards. If it was entertainment you wanted, you picked the wrong games to watch. The next Saturday screened a thriller between New Zealand and Australia with some outstanding adventurous rugby and only the 11 tries!


On the theme of tests, you have missed the chance of obtaining tickets for the Autumn test through the club but I doubt if all of the games will be sell out so you will probably still be able to get them directly from the SRU Ticket Office. An extra game against Tonga has been fitted in on October 30th. However, you still have time to apply for the Home 6 Nations matches against England and France. Details are on the club website. Don’t delay on this one because the English game will definitely be a sell out. You basically have to do something by mid September if you want tickets through the club! The ball is in your court on this one. Away 6 Nations details have not come out yet but I know that some members are ahead of the game by booking flights etc.


There was an interesting game on Premier Freesport between Heriots and Southern Knights in Super 6 a couple of weeks ago. Amazingly 3 of the props in the game were originally from Kelso: Grant Shiels for the Knights and Dan Gamble and Chris Keen for Heriots. But there are Kelso players plying their trade all over the place.


I imagine that most folk who watch rugby don’t know the laws of the game so the fact that there are some new laws will not be of any great importance. However, if you see a goal-line drop out, that’s one of the trial laws. Another one is called a 50-22 which means that if you kick from inside your own half and the ball rolls into touch in the opponents 22, your team gets to throw in at the line-out.

The Clubrooms are back to being used by outside groups, Live Borders and Slimming 4 You have been in for a few weeks but Border Link has just restarted as well as Gentle Exercise on a Friday morning. One new group using the facility is the local Boccia club. It is a bit like indoor bowls! The Cub Scouts are also starting to use the facility.


We are continually grateful to the sponsors who have stayed on board with us. We know times are hard but your support means a lot to us. Sponsors have responded by sponsoring players, taking pitch side advertising and getting their firm’s name on the playing or casual kit and there is a new venture with several local firms putting up a smaller advertising board on the side of the stand as you enter the clubrooms. We have got this figure up to 18 sponsors now.


The very observant of you will have noticed the notice at the end of Poynder Place just over the wall from where the phone box was in the Bowling Club. Seriously posh and thanks go to Dave Howieson on the design and the Bowling Club for letting us put up the sign. The posts are up but there is something different about them! The pitch is looking wonderfully well despite the shortage of rain. Angus Roberts is looking after the ground for us and is making a good job. He was greatly helped with the amount of rain which fell at the end of June. The phone box, by the way, has been removed!


What news from Elgin? I am off to do some childminding later this week as its back to school for my daughter for In-service so its Grandpa day care for the granddaughters. Ice creams in Lossiemouth will be the first task for me.

Stay safe, listen out for ‘pingdemics’ on your phone (I hope you don’t get one) and we hope to see you soon! I have now had 2 visits to the testing station as I was ‘pinged’ for being in close contact with a COVID positive person. That’s 2 bullets I have dodged!


Norman Anderson


#OneClub #OneCommunity