Kelso 13 Hawick 23
BOOKER BORDER LEAGUE
Kelso played their fifth home game in a row and recorded their fourth defeat in that time but for long periods of the game they were well in contention and competed vigorously against their higher ranked visitors.
Each side missed early penalties before Neil McColm won the race to a kick and chase to nail the first try for Hawick.
Kelso scored next after Matt Douglas popped a penalty into the corner after a dangerous tackle. The Kelso line out drove to the line and, when held up, they fed the ball to Matt Douglas who was well supported by Frankie Robson who, in turn, sent Dom Buckley in at the posts. Douglas slotted the conversion to take Kelso ahead.
A break by Murray Hastie took play up into the Hawick 22 where they infringed to allow Douglas to extend the Kelso lead.
McColm reduced the leeway to 10-8 shortly afterwards but, despite both sides playing with real passion, there was no further scoring in the half.
Kelso, perhaps, would have thought they had done enough to be further ahead at half time but these thoughts turned to nought after the restart when slack defending allowed the visiting backs space and Kieran Willison scampered in from 20 metres to touch down with Lee Armstrong converting. They increased their lead when a Kelso handling move broke down and led to all sorts of trouble for their defence and persistent Hawick pressure won them a penalty which Neil Renwick converted.
Hawick had been warned by the referee about the number of penalties in the contact area which they were conceding but Rory Hutton, who came on as a replacement, found himself at the bottom of a ruck and took one for the team as he was shown a yellow card. Douglas chipped over the penalty to keep Kelso within distance but, after a Renwick break and offload to Keith Davies, a Hawick scrum move worked as clean as a whistle with a number 8 pick-up fed to Greg Cottrell and on to Renwick for him to burst over the Kelso line.
The conversion was missed but there was still time for more chances Hawick finishing very strongly as pounded the Kelso line. Solid defence was needed and Kelso held out just.