PREMIER DIVISION TWO
FIONA SCOTT reports from Poynder Park
THIS was always going to be a heated affair with the two local teams going head to head, each desperate to keep their national status next season.
Previously Jed, who were sitting in second place in the league, had won four games in a row, while Kelso were making steady improvement week by week. Not that the players needed anymore incentive, but the match also marked the second playing of the Kenny Ballantyne Cup, played for annually between the neighbouring teams.
Kelso began at a cracking pace, forcing their opponents back into their own 22 almost from the kick-off.
An early penalty was missed by Mark Chesters, however, and Jed took it as a wake-up call.
As expected in this local derby, both sets of players were gee’d up for the occasion and overenthusiasm resulted in quick tempers with Kelso’s Ian Wallace being sent to cool his heels for 10 minutes.
Jed took full advantage of the extra man and in the 13th minute, former Kelso man Darren Gillespie forced his way over the line to score for the visitors.
Chris Laidlaw slotted the conversion and only four minutes later Ross Goodfellow darted over for number two.
With numbers equal again, a spell of stalemate ensued with neither team giving much ground. With two minutes to go until half-time, however, Jed were cut to 14 men when David Grieve was sin-binned for stamping – and two minutes into injury time Chester kicked over Kelso’s first points through a penalty.
Half time: Kelso 3 Jed-Forest 12.
Another three-pointer for the Kelso stand-off 10 minutes after the restart brought the hosts right back into contention. The Royal Blues were having none of it, though, and six minutes later Laidlaw replied likewise to restore his team’s nine-point cushion.
Kelso prop Stuart Lowrie was next to warrant the wrath of referee Kevin White and be sent for a 10-minute break and minutes later, the aforementioned whistler felt compelled to have stern words with both captains. A minute after that and Jed were in the ascendancy again, Goodfellow scampering up the touchline to score in the corner.
Almost immediately Kelso responded with a well-worked try of their own through Richard Minto, but hardly had the supporters time to draw breath and the ball was sailing through the posts at the other end of the field, courtesy of a Laidlaw penalty.
Jed replacement Steven Scott became bench warmer number four in the 38th minute and time ran out with the visitors taking the points, and the cup, back to Riverside.
Jed captain Neil Cook said: “It’s always a tough game against Kelso and from the outset we had to get ourselves in front because we knew they would come at us hard in the second half.
“This was one of the games we had targeted and we’re delighted to have taken the points.”
Kelso: K. Utterson; A. Haig, R. Minto, E. Ford, G. Minto; M. Chester, A. Tait; S. Lowrie, C. Riddell, A. Marsh, I. Wallace, D. Seed, J. Stevenson, R. Henderson, S. Carnegie. Subs: D. Cowan, R. Glendinning, P. Hume, D. Lowrie.
Jed-Forest: I. Chisolm; G. Young, E. Scott, K. Aitchison, D. Gobby; C. Laidlaw, R. Goodfellow, A. Croitouru, D. Grieve, R. Ferguson, N. Cook, M. Weekley, D. Grieve, A. Nagle, D. Gillespie. Subs: S. Raeburn, A. Ions, S. Scott, E. Fowler.