Rugby: Kelso 16-10 Aberdeen Grammar

Andrew Skeen, male performance of the year'Berwick and District sports awards
Andrew Skeen, male performance of the year'Berwick and District sports awards

An early morning pitch inspection allowed the game to go ahead. Between then and the start of the game, however, the colour of the pitch changed from green to white and back several times.

Contingency plans were in hand to ensure that the decision to play was fulfilled.

Aberdeen were somewhat surprised to see the state of the pitch on their arrival after a fairly torrid journey from the North East.

It was a vital game for both sides as there was a feeling that the loser of this game may be on the slippery slope down to National 2. Kelso were able to field the same starting line up as last week in their visit to Fife.

It was a windy and cold day with Kelso choosing to play into the wind in the first half. The Aberdeen side showed great determination early on with a near interception and a few useful turnovers. It was Kelso, however, who drew first blood. Aberdeen lost second row, Hamilton Burr, to the sin bin after a flurry of penalties and Kelso took good advantage of this with a sharp passing move along the line to Arran Jackson who, when checked, was able to recycle the ball for Andrew Skeen to skip through a big gap after a neat show and go. Skeen converted his own try.

Shortly afterwards, the visitors reduced the arrears when skipper, Alex Hagart, slotted a long range penalty goal. A stolen line out by Kelso and a bullocking run by Henri Boshoff took play into the Aberdeen territory. A Skeen cross kick after a line out catch and drive eluded winger Jackson who was held up near the line.

As half time approached, with Kelso being quite pleased with themselves, Aberdeen scored a long distance try after good work by Ali Mackie who fed second row, Stuart Cessford, who just kept on going for a try which, no doubt, he will embellish on the long coach journey home. Hagart converted to take his team to a 10-7 interval lead.

An early success from the kicking tee by Skeen brought Kelso level but the home defence had to endure a great deal of pressure as they conceded penalties and possession, but a break out allowed them into the opposition half to win a penalty for newcomer, Donald Crawford, to convert from beyond the 10 metre line.

Aberdeen again had a good passage of play which eventually ended when the ball was touched down over their line for a 22 drop out. The ball was hammered downfield and a great kick chase enabled the Kelso forwards to milk the penalty just outside the 22 for Skeen to extend the lead to six points.

That may have been the end of the scoring but not the end of the excitement. The visitors strived manfully for the try to give them the chance of the lead. A succession of penalties and an injury to Stef Carnegie helped their cause greatly but Kelso held out well into injury time for a valuable win. To Aberdeen, they collected a bonus point but slipped further behind in the race to escape relegation.

It was a relegation battle and the anxiety shown by the players was obvious to all. The next few weeks look like it will be a shambles as cup games were cancelled and league games which have been rearranged will be superseded by the rearrangement of the cup games.

Kelso: Gary Mulroy; Arran Jackson, Gary Johnstone, Kobus Laurens, Mark Wilson; Andrew Skeen, Phil Hume; Henri Boshoff, Sandy Fairbairn, Stuart Lowrie, Stef Carnegie, Tom Robson, Nico Graaff , Dom Buckley, Ian Wallace. Subs: Charlie Marshall, Blair Robertson, Kieran Dunbar, Andy Tait and Donald Rutherford.

Scorers: Andrew Skeen 1 con and 2 pens and 1 try, Donald Crawford 1 pen.