PREMIER GROUP C
LAING SPEIRS reports from Riverside Park
KELSO picked themselves up from their big defeat at Kirkcaldy and reminded themselves of how good they are at saving themselves when all seems lost.
They did it again on Saturday, out-playing Jed-Forest in most phases of the game and ensuring that Division Two rugby will again be played at Poynder Park next year.
It wasn’t easy, and it took a mammoth second-half defensive effort to restrict the home side to one try, even if that came in injury time.
But Kelso had always looked the hungrier side – perhaps through having missed the club’s dinner the previous evening.
But their restraint paid off, and the celebrations on Saturday night were well earned.
Kevin Utterson gave his side a great lead, with some tremendous tackling and covering.
Few things were better than the tap tackle he produced in the second half when Jed looked like getting through during their intense period of pressure.
He said after the game that he was very proud of his side: “It was a great effort, and that was a huge defensive effort in the second half.”
But he added that Kelso had to get things right for next season.
Kelso delivered everything that was needed to gain the solitary point they needed, and with a two-try-to-one victory they ended up in comfortable safety.
Kelso started with a lively session, Moody and Stef Carnegie featuring in early drives, but missed a chance when a Greg Ponton penalty attempt dropped just short.
It took Jed 20 minutes to get settled around the halfway mark, but the Tweedsiders came back with some penalty kicks to the corner giving them a footing.
When Jed left a huge gap as the forwards drove to the line, Andy Tait couldn’t miss the chance and scored the first try, Ponton converting.
With the game continuing at an intense level, Jed had to get by without Ross Goodfellow for 10 minutes, but Kelso were just deserving of their half-time lead.
Phil Hume took over the kicking and landed a penalty and then converted a fine try by Moody, who linked well to finish off a move he had created.
Jed were in territorial control for virtually the remainder of the game, but Kelso were resolute and it was only in the closing minutes that they conceded a score, Lewis Young completing a fine run by the home threequarters.
Jed-Forest: L. Young; I. Chisholm, R. Hogg, E. Scott, D. Gobbie; G. Hill, R. Goodfellow; R. Ferguson, David Grieve, A. Croitoru, P. Hill, N. Cook, M. Weekley, Donald Grieve, D. Gillespie. Subs: G. Slorance. G. Taylor, J. Hogg, G. Young,
Kelso: G. Ponton; A. Riley, G. Minto, K. Utterson, A. Haig; P. Hume, A. Tait; F. Young, C. Riddell, B. Lyburn, N. Ioane, S. Carnegie, L. Mitchell, G. Riddell, I. Moody. Subs: D. Cowan, I. Wallace, C. Keen, C. Renton.