This match came close to ending in tears for the large travelling contingent expecting a relatively easy passage into the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.
Two tries in the opening 10 minutes confirmed those early beliefs of the visiting supporters, but a lack of discipline on the part of the Greens, coupled with some courageous play from Kelso, brought an edge-of-the-seat finish to a game which could have gone either way.
Sin-binnings for Bruce McNeil, Keith Davies and Neil Renwick meant that Hawick played 27 minutes with 14 men.
“Discipline was not great and that is certainly something we will be looking at,” said McNeil.
“We play on the edge ... some refs let you away with things and others don’t, so it may be a case of sitting down with them to find out what they want from us.
“Saying that, we managed to defend our lines well when we were down in numbers, so there are positives we can take out of that.”
Hawick were quick to show their intentions, with John Coutts going over in the first minute, Neil Renwick converting, and Rory Scott crossing the line shortly afterwards.
McNeil was sent to the sin-bin for a ruck infringement on 15 minutes, but Kelso failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage.
With numbers even again, Andrew Skeen slotted a penalty for Kelso before the visitors took the ball back upfield, where Nick McLennan went over from a line-out. Renwick converted to make it 19-3 to Hawick at the break.
After the restart, it was the hosts who got off on the front foot. Skeen chipped through following a line-out and Frankie Robson was perfectly positioned to take the ball through and dot down for the former to convert.
Further troubles were to hit Hawick when Keith Davies was sent to the bin for a professional foul. Skeen slotted the resulting penalty to close the gap to six points.
A moment of madness from Renwick then prevented an almost certain try from Kelso’s Alistair Grieve and the Hawick full-back became the third Hawick player of the afternoon to be shown a yellow.
Granted, matters would have been worse if the referee had awarded a penalty try.
Kelso continued to pressurise the Hawick line, but to no avail as the clock wound down and a Greens’ victory was recorded.