Kelso 18-18 Dundee HSFP

Kelso's Andrew Skeen.
Kelso's Andrew Skeen.

Andrew Skeen, playing at centre, had a perfect day for Kelso with six out of six from th boot to help his side come from behind to earn a draw in the National League.

Kelso were missing their unavailable captain, Dom Buckley, and the injured Gary Mulroy. Apart from that, they started with the same side which played last week.

The game started with a bright and breezy passage of play where it seemed that both sides intended to move the ball around. That was well and good until the first scrum was set after about 23 minutes. That was the start of scourge of Scottish rugby. Scrums were reset; scrums were wheeled around; scrum put ins were reversed after they went round 90 degrees and scrums were penalised. Dundee must have been kicking themselves with the number of penalties they conceded in the game. It was into the twenties. They appeared to have a dominant scrum but insisted in trying to destroy the Kelso pack, often by illegal means by boring.

The first points on the board went to Kelso when Andrew Skeen slotted a penalty after 7 minutes. However, missed tackles on the Dundee centre Tim McKavanagh allowed the visitors to take the lead after 12 minutes. The try was unconverted. Skeen regained the lead with another penalty after 12 minutes but that was short lived. Nick Alston was just short with a long range penalty for Dundee but the pressure was on the Kelso line. From a 5 metre line out which seemed to go horribly wrong for Dundee, the ball was along the back line for Blair Cochrane to appear on the wrong wing to go over. Duncan Leese converted.

Skeen pegged back the deficit with a couple of penalties. As the Taysiders took the penalty count into double figures, referee Gordon Corry’s patience had been sorely tested and captain, Alan Brown, was shown a yellow card.

Just before the break, a hack through by Rocky Johnstone was followed up by Kev Wilson and Phil Hume but nothing became of it and the teams were level at 12 all at the break.

The first chance of the second half fell to Kelso when after a few phases, Andrew Skeen chipped over the Dundee defence but the visitors won the race for the touch down.

Skeen did take Kelso ahead with another penalty but Leese countered with a couple of penalties to take Dundee ahead with just over 10 minutes to go. Skeen brought Kelso level after another scrum penalty against Dundee and Rocky had the chance to put Kelso ahead with a long range effort.

As the game headed for a draw, Dundee were given a gilt edged chance after Kelso conceded a penalty in front of the posts about 35 metres out but their luck was in as Leese missed the kick and so a draw it was with Kelso probably feeling the happier of the two sides on the day.

In the end, the result revolved around goal kicking. Skeen, playing at centre, had a perfect day for Kelso with 6 out of 6. The success did not just revolve around him, however, as several Kelso payers stepped up to the plate with fine performances by Stef Carnegie in the line out and by Arran Jackson in his unaccustomed position at full back.

The game saw a few players injured and both Charlie Marshall and Liam Tait retired with knee problems and Phil Hume looked in no little pain when he came off with a bad shoulder after a fine covering tackle.

Kelso: Arran Jackson, Kev Wilson, Gary Johnston, Andrew Skeen, Gregg Minto, Phil Hume, Ally Johnston Henri Boshoff, Ross Henderson, Stuart Lowrie, Stef Carnegie, Ian Wallace, Chris Riddell, Kieran Dunbar and Liam Tait.