Kelso 3-18 Jed-Forest

Kelso Rugby Football Club ground. Poynder Park in The Scottish Borders.''stock
Kelso Rugby Football Club ground. Poynder Park in The Scottish Borders.''stock

Pre-match weather conditions indicated that it would be a messy affair but the strong wind helped to dry the pitch and it was not churned up as one would have expected.

It was, however, a cold day with the beginnings of Storm Clodagh blowing strongly from the changing rooms end. Points on the board at half time were a priority for Jed who had the elements in their favour in the first half.

Kelso had the better of the early stages of the game with a couple of line out steals and a rumble upfield until a collapsed maul gave the scrum put in to Jed. It was Jed who had the first opportunity to get the scoreboard moving along when Kelso were caught offside and Gregor Mein slotted a penalty from the 10 metre line after 12 minutes.

Kelso responded with territorial gain and a line out five metres out from the Jed line but the line out was lost. Jed made their way upfield and scored a great try when Mein and Fraser Harkness combined and checked the Kelso defence to send Rory Marshall flying in at the corner. Mein missed the conversion.

Although there had been a few penalties conceded by both sides, it was Jed who suffered first when Michael Weekley upset the referee sufficiently badly to earn a yellow card for persistent infringement. Kelso, unfortunately, were unable to capitalise on the one man advantage, although they had a big chance but were penalised as they set a line out to be driven over.

Jed, although a man down, were determined to add to their advantage and only an amazing tackle by Henri Boshoff brought down Gregor Young as he was about to slip into top gear.

A drop goal attempt by Mein went close as he was waiting for a penalty advantage but he missed the easiest kick he had all day. Kelso finished off the half defending fairly desperately. A scrum won against the head by Jed took them up to the Kelso line and from the ensuing ruck, Gregor Law was bundled over for his first try for Jed. Mein missed the conversion but that put Jed ahead by 13 points at the break.

The early part of the second half showed Kelso dominance and, following a Stef Carnegie pick up at the base of the scrum, Ewan Ford was almost over but was held up. However, a penalty for Kelso was the result and Andrew Skeen reduced the arrears with a well judged kick.

After that, Jed turned the screw and Kelso went through a long period of heroically defending. It was only long kicks downfield with the following wind which relieved the Kelso line. It could not last forever and a blistering run from Lewis Young put his brother Gregor away on the Kelso left for a fine try which again went unconverted to take Jed to 18-3 ahead with the target of a bonus point try in their sights.

It should have been secured when the Youngs and Rory Marshall had a three on one on the stand side but Gregor butchered the opportunity.

The last few minutes were all about pride for Kelso and the fourth try for Jed but neither side could secure a score although the pitch at times looked like a casualty ward with Jed picking up a few injuries along the way. So after six minutes injury time, the game ended with the BT National league and Bookers Border League points going to Riverside as well as the Ballantyne Cup.

The results for the teams around Kelso in the league did not help the mood at Poynder with Aberdeen and Stew Mel both securing league points. For Jed, however, the real prospects of a strong league position must be in their minds as they recorded their seventh win of the season, so moving up to fourth in the league.

Kelso: Greg Ponton; Arran Jackson, Gary Johnstone, Louis Wichary, Mark Wilson; Andrew Skeen, Andy Tait; Henri Boshoff, Blair Robertson, Michael Barber, Ian Wallace, Tom Robson, Angus Common, Ewan Ford and Stef Carnegie. Subs: Stuart Lowrie, Paul Grahamslaw , Billy Waddell , Lewis Mallen and Kevin Wilson.

Jed-Forest: L. Young; R. Marshall, G. Young, F. Harkness, R. Shirra-Gibb; G. Mein, D. Ritchie; C. Hogg, S. Raeburn, D. Fererria, C. Skeldon, G. Law, G. Stewart, G. Rowson, M. Weekley. Subs: G. Paxton, C. Cowan, G. Taylor, R. Hogg, E. Stewart.