RBS NATIONAL LEAGUE
NORMAN ANDERSON reports from Hughenden
WHEN referee Martin Hose blew for time on Saturday, Kelso players and the few supporters in attendance jumped for joy because they appeared to have won by 23-22.
There was, however, a sting in the tail as the assistant referee attracted the main official’s attention to a penalty offence just as he sounded the final whistle.
Kelso’s joy was, therefore, short-lived as they had to face a Hillhead scrum just short of their line.
This was the first of four scrums – and all of them were deemed by Mr Hose to have led to some illegal activity by the Tweedsiders.
Eventually, after advice directed to his assistant by the Hillhead coach along the lines of “You will have to consider a penalty try, sir”, the referee complied with his wishes and awarded one, which was duly converted to give the home team victory by 29-23 after eight minutes’ overtime.
Kelso missed the lofty presence of Donald Seed in line-out.
They also incurred the wrath of Mr Hose by conceding 20 penalties and had three players yellow-carded in the first half, being down to 13 on two occasions.
However, the visitors, short of full strength without Seed and Dom Buckley, through injury, and the unavailable William Massey and James Stewart, scored first through two penalties by Murray Hastie in the fourth and 10th minutes.
But Kelso started to commit penalty offences and Ewan Ford was sin-binned, followed soon after by Frankie Robson.
Hillhead prop Joe Stafford went over for an unconverted try.
Ford returned to the field, but then it was Ian Wallace’s turn to spend 10 minutes in the naughty corner.
While he was off, a disrupted scrum allowed Blair McPherson to gallop over in the corner just on half-time to give the Glasgow team a 10-6 lead.
The homesters increased their advantage via a Chris Butler touchdown.
Kelso then enjoyed their best spell of the match. Gregg Minto made good ground down his wing and, following quick ruck ball, Richard Minto created the half-break to send Adam Alexander bursting through for his first Kelso try. Murray Hastie converted.
On 74 minutes, McPherson went over for a clever try which was converted by Gus Twaddle to stretch the score to 22-13.
But a couple of minutes later Richard Minto dashed through between the posts for an easy conversion for Hastie, bringing Kelso to within two points of their opponents with four minutes left.
This was followed by Hastie belting over a penalty and the game was almost over – then came the award of Hillhead’s penalty try, which was converted.
Kelso: A. Haig; F. Robson, R. Minto, A. Alexander, G. Minto; M. Hastie, A. Tait; K. Cooney, C. Riddell, S. Lowrie, I. Wallace, A. Wallace, M. Robertson, E. Ford, D. Gillespie. Subs: R. Glendinning, R. Maxwell, J. Pick, A. Wolf.