Spirited show from Kelso and Peebles in ‘dead rubber’ match

Kicking king - Matt Douglas
Kicking king - Matt Douglas

Kelso 29 Peebles 25

RBS NATIONAL LEAGUE

The last national league game of the season saw an entertaining end to end affair at Poynder Park.

From the outset, both teams showed a willingness to move the ball around despite the game being a dead rubber with no promotion or relegation at stake.

Peebles had the brighter start but solid Kelso defence held the visitors at bay.

It was Kelso who took the lead after the Minto brothers made good headway into the Peebles 22. A succession of rucks allowed Andy Tait to be driven over near the posts. Matt Douglas converted as he did with a penalty straight from the kick after a burst from Donald Seed.

A second Kelso try came after 15 minutes when Kelso stole a line out ball and Kieran Cooney finished off the move with an unconverted try.

Donald Anderson, the visitors stand off, set the scoreboard rolling for his team with a couple of straightforward penalties. That, however, just slowed down the Kelso scoring as Ali Marsh and Cooney combined to take the ball on from a free kick and Dom Buckley, making only his second start in the back row, crashed over at the posts to present Douglas with an easy conversion.

The bonus point try came soon after following a break by Frankie Robson. Ian Wallace and Marsh took the ball up to the Peebles line for Tait to snatch his second try, with Douglas converting to take Kelso ahead by 29-6 with half time approaching.

Kelso continued to press but the only noteworthy incident before half time was the yellow card dished out to Gregg Minto and that became an expensive error as the second half progressed. During the sin binning Peebles scored 12 points as Ruaridh Clinch finished off a snappy passing move in the right hand corner. This was followed five minutes later when the Kelso defence opened up for a solo effort by Jonathan Swiatek as he galloped over at the posts. Anderson converted to take Peebles only 11 points behind.

The visitors really had their tails up and it was only stout defence which kept them at bay.

Yellow card fever hit Kelso again when Donald Seed as caught in an offside position preventing the release of quick ball. Peebles scored straight away when Anderson took a quick tap penalty to stroll over for the try so giving himself an easy conversion.

That, after 60 minutes, was the end of the scoring but not the end of the action.

Peebles continued to seek the points to win the game and they came so close.

The last few minutes was just a succession of scrums to both sides but after about 5 minutes of injury time, Kelso came away as winners by 29-25 although they failed to score in the second half.

Peebles deserved great credit for their second half efforts. They mastered the choke tackle and frequently won turn over ball much to the annoyance of the Kelso forwards.

And so we had Kelso winning the Battle of the Tweedsiders with a second win of the season for Kelso.