Kelso 25 Stewarts Melville 27
RBS NATIONAL LEAGUE ONE
Kelso needed to bounce back from last week’s heavy defeat to Watsonians and they started on the front foot against Stewarts Melville on a great sunny afternoon at Poynder Park.
The home side were in front after three minutes when Max Gordon scored a try in the corner following some strong forward play. Andrew Skeen kicked the conversion to make the score 7-0.
Kelso then conceded a silly penalty for a ruck infringement and Nick McCashin, who was to prove a pivotal figure in the match with the accuracy of his kicking, stepped up to slot from 22 metres and bring the scores back to 7-3.
The Kelso pack continued their dominance and they extended their lead on 14 minutes when Chris Keen scored a great try after Kelso drove a line out ball from inside the 22. The conversion was missed.
Skeen then kicked a penalty for Kelso after Stewarts Melville had infringed on the floor at the ruck.
Kelso’s continued dominance up front caused the visitors great problems and their great direct running and strong rucking ensured Kelso remained on top and on 38 minutes Max Gordon scored his second try of the game which was converted by Skeen.
Stewarts Melville then had their best spell of the first half and pressurised the Kelso try line. They won a succession of quickly taken penalties and when Allan Frame infringed right on Kelso’s line the referee, Graham Ormiston, lost patience and flashed the yellow card in the direction of the Kelso prop. From the resultant penalty, Stew Mel threw the ball wide and left wing Matt Hannay scored a try converted by McCashin to make the half time score Kelso 22 Stewarts Melville 10.
The score right on half time and the team talk from the coaching team sparked Stewarts Melville into action. They spent the majority of the 2nd half in Kelso territory and, when Kelso lost the ball at a ruck, the visitors spun the ball along the line for flying winger Matt Morrell to beat some relatively static Kelso tacklers to score a good solo try with the reliable boot of McCashin adding the extra two points.
Within five minutes Kelso were back on the scoreboards as the Kelso forwards managed to get some short term momentum in the battle up front and Skeen kicked a penalty.
The last 10 minutes were nail biting for the home side as Stewarts Melville were pressing and pressing but some dogged Kelso defence and some handling errors from the away side meant that with 40 minutes gone on the clock the Kelso still led by five points.
In the eighth minute of overtime Morrell made a break through a huge hole in the Kelso defence and scored a try to level things up. In all fairness, McCashin was never going to miss the conversion after a fine display and he duly slotted the two points which was the last action of the afternoon as Ormiston blew his whistle for full time.
Kelso: Murray Hastie; Frankie Robson, Richard Minto, Adam Alexander, Ally Johnston; Andrew Skeen, Anders Cameron; Chris Keen, Chris Riddell, Allan Frame, Callum Rowlandson, Donald Seed, Max Gordon, Ian Wallace, Alastair Grieve. Subs: Gordon Harkins, Liam Tait, Kieran Wilkinson, Ross Henderson, Gareth Riddell.
Scorers: Max Gordon (2 tries), Chris Keen. Andrew Skeen (2 penalties and 2 conversions).