Kelso blow hot and cold up north

Kelso RFC's Chris Keen
Kelso RFC's Chris Keen

Aberdeen Grammar 27 Kelso 22

National Division One

Kelso continued their run of ‘almost won’ or ‘should have won’ on their long distance trip to Aberdeen.

It was a much depleted side which was blown up the road north with players missing because of injury, unavailability and Saturday morning employment.

They also got off to the worst possible start. Having chosen to face the elements in the first half, Kelso received the kick off. An early turn over put Aberdeen on the front foot and a try duly came after a missed tackle when No 8 Louis Kinsey ploughed over. Alex Hagart slotted the conversion and it looked as if Kelso would be in for a long hard day.

However, they settled well and came back into the game and narrowed the gap with a penalty by Andrew Skeen who was captain for the day in the absence of the injured Chris Riddell. The curse of the modern game ensued with a multitude of scrums, in which neither side displayed any dominance. Grammar soon increased their lead with a Hagart penalty for a Kelso offside.

Playing into the wind, Kelso gained a semblance of control of the game up front and from a driven line out on the 22 they eventually drove Chris Keen over for a try which Skeen was unable to convert. Shortly after, they almost repeated this but were held up just short of the line.

Their success was short-lived, however, as Grammar scored a fine try when the burly Fijian blind side winger, Peceli Nacamavuto, made a timely intrusion between the centres to put replacement Calum Champion through for a try. The game was then interrupted when the stand side assistant referee spotted an off the ball incident. In a discussion which lasted longer than the half time break, and produced a great deal of boredom and frustration amongst players and spectators alike, the referee reversed a penalty previously awarded to Kelso.

There was enough time before half time for the hosts to increase their lead when Kinsey, after some slipshod tackling, crashed over near the posts for his second try to allow an easy conversion for Hagart and a 22-8 interval lead.

Kelso started the second half with a bang, and caught Aberdeen out, as they assumed the kick off would go dead with the following wind. The bounce favoured Kelso and within seconds, a gap appeared for Ian Wallace to race through for a try, surprising all. Skeen converted and the comeback was on.

After 50 minutes Kelso equalised when they ran a penalty around half way and, through a combination of great support and hard running, Frankie Robson scorched through the defence to allow Skeen the easy conversion.

Kelso had an immediate chance to take the lead for the first time when Kieran Wilkinson was just wide with a long distance penalty attempt. Then Richard Minto was stopped just short after a searing outside break. The momentum seemed to be all with Kelso but it was not to be and Aberdeen weathered the storm and full back, Grant Walker, eventually scored out wide as he finished off a fine slick passing move which just stretched the Kelso defence too far. Hagart missed the kick.

That was the end of Kelso’s chances as they held on for the losing bonus point as they looked forward to the long journey home having slipped down the league a couple of places.

Kelso: Kieran Wilkinson; Frankie Robson, Richard Minto, Adam Alexander, Tony Wichary; Andrew Skeen, Murray Hastie; Chris Keen, Ross Henderson, James Cowan, Donald Seed, Max Gordon, Ian Wallace, Alastair Grieve, Gareth Riddell. Subs: Fraser Howie, Paul Grahamslaw, Scott Brown, Anders Cameron Ally Johnston.

Scorers: Chris Keen, Ian Wallace, Frankie Robson (tries); Andrew Skeen 1 penalty and 2 conversions.