ANYBODY who was less than courageous probably spent Saturday afternoon watching the Heineken Cup on Sky – others, however, braved the elements at Mansfield Park.
This RBS Regional Cup tie almost never took place. The game was called off on Thursday night and was back on again by Friday lunchtime. Kelso had been hit hard by injuries and were having to field a very inexperienced front row.
At Hawick, the team was met by horrendous weather conditions with a howling gale and heavy rain.
The Poynder Park men had the advantage of the gale in the first half and stormed the Hawick line, winning three quick penalties. Kelso tapped each of these, but for no reward and, as they pressed, Hawick had a break out by Lee Armstrong who linked up with the supporting Keith Davies who raced over for a try at the posts. Neil Renwick converted.
From the kick-off, Hawick, following another Armstrong burst, scored a second try when Rory Scott completed the move to give Renwick another easy conversion. Kelso conceded another try on 17 minutes when Greens’ captain Greg Cottrell intercepted a pass to race over unopposed. Again, Renwick converted.
Almost immediately Kelso hit back when Andy Tait caught his opposite number at the base of the scrum and hacked the ball through for winger Mark Wilson to win the race for the corner. Matty Douglas converted and showed his kicking prowess further with three penalties in quick succession to take the score to 21-16 for the hosts.
By now, players were becoming increasingly harder to recognise and there followed a comedy of errors with passes going straight to opponents who appeared out of nowhere in the mud and the dark. Thankfully, half-time came and both teams added to their laundry bills by wearing clean strips after the interval.
After 50 minutes Hawick, through the influential Lee Armstrong, scored their bonus point try, which was again converted by Renwick. The weather got worse and after an injury to Shawn Muir, Hawick’s prop, the referee made his best decision and abandoned the game after 63 minutes with the result standing.