GHK 15, Kelso 26
Kelso travelled to Old Anniesland on Saturday to face GHK in the Black and Whites’ first match in three weeks.
A good travelling support was hoping the Kelso men would continue their fine run of form against opponents who would make it very tough.
The visitors kicked off on a fantastic surface and started the game at a frantic pace. The Tweedsiders were immediately close to the GHK line after a fine break from full back Craig Dods. The usual safe hands of Colin Arthur unfortunately knocked the ball forward in contact and GHK cleared the danger.
Kelso hit straight back and scored a somewhat fortuitous try by Andrew Skeen. A delightful kick through from Craig Dods was fumbled by GHK winger Robin Coats and Skeen accepted the gift of the five points. Phil Hume missed the conversion.
GHK came back at Kelso and very nearly scored a fine try in th corner but their winger knocked the ball on when the line was in his sights. The referee was playing a penalty advantage and, when the ball was knocked on, he brought play back.
Up stepped Danny Campbell and he slotted the ball straight through the uprights.
Kelso then scored a fantastic try through scrum half Andy Tait. A trademark tremendous angle of running from skipper Dom Buckley broke a hole in the GHK defence and Buckley was away. He was tackled on the 22 but fed winger Gregg Minto and it looked like he was going to score but he was
brought down a couple of metres short and popped the ball up to the supporting runner, and Tait scored under the posts. Phil Hume kicked the conversion.
Kelso then got a let-off when GHK should have narrowed the gap. The visitors were penalised for being off their feet at the ruck but Danny Campbell hooked his penalty wide of the posts.
GHK were starting to take a hold of the match at this point and Kelso were hoping for the half-time whistle.
GHK then scored a try of their own through scrum half Michael Aird. The GHK pack was working hard and gaining yards when the ball went into the Kelso 22 and Aird managed to beat three Kelso tackles as he went darting over the line. Campbell added the extras.
The home side then had a chance to take the lead when Kelso infringed at the ruck. Campbell stepped up but hooked his kick left of the uprights and Kelso went into the interval leading by just two points.
Kelso started the second half strongly and scored a try through hooker Nick Hart. A great break by Arran Jackson took the ball into the GHK 22. The forwards then pushed towards the line and, eventually, Hart was driven over. Hume added the extras.
Kelso nearly shot themselves in the foot as Kris Mein knocked the ball on from the kick off but, thankfully, the forwards managed to turn the ball over and Dods cleared the danger.
GHK were throwing the ball about well but the Kelso backs were defending everything that was coming at them.
Marc Taylor then scored a try for GHK – the substitute went flying through a gap at inside centre channel and skipped through a couple of tackles to touch down. There were only four points separating the sides at this point and all was to play for.
Kelso then took the game to GHK and, eventually, the home side cracked and infringed at the ruck.
Phil Hume stepped up but missed a relatively straight forward kick at goal. It just wasn’t his day with
the boot, but he had a solid game in the back division.
Kelso captain Buckley then rounded off the scoring after a scrum was driven over and he touched the ball down. This was well received by the travelling support and it also secured the try bonus, with Hume adding the extras.
This was a very tough outing for Kelso against a very good GHK side. It was certainly not the performance coaches Adam Roxburgh and Darren Cunningham were looking for, but both were delighted with the five points.
Up next is a Border Derby against Peebles on Saturday at Poynder Park.
Kelso: Craig Dods, Arran Jackson, Angus Roberts, Phil Hume, Gregg Minto, Andrew Skeen, Andy Tait, Colin Arthur, Nick Hart, Rhys Morgan, Paudie Lawlor, Donald Seed, Ian Wallace, Dom Buckley (c), Kris Mein. Subs: Blair Robertson, Andrew Wallace, Tom Robson, Ally Johnston.