Kelso 16 Melrose 19
BOOKER BORDER LEAGUE
Fiona Scott reports from Poynder Park
FOR the opening 20 minutes of this evening fixture at Poynder Park it was the hosts who had all the possession.
Melrose grabbed early penalty points with two successful kicks from Joe Helps but it was Kelso who had the better of the territory. And on the 20th minute their perseverance paid off when Gregg Minto danced over for a close range try. Murray Hastie missed the conversion but put his team in front minutes later with a penalty goal.
Kelso continued to enjoy the majority of the possession for the remainder of the half and, had it not been for a missed penalty, and then a spilled pass just metres from the Melrose line, the scoreline could have been verging on the embarrassing for the visiting Premiership side. As it was Hastie slotted a penalty right on the whistle to put his team 11- 6 ahead at the break.
One could only imagine what John Dalziel was saying to his team at half time but whatever it was looked to have worked as Melrose came out flying with replacement winger Bruce Colvine running half the length of the pitch to touch down and Andrew Skeen making the conversion to edge the black and golds back into the lead.
As they had in the opening half however Kelso kept their cool and even when Skeen notched a penalty to stretch the lead to five points the Tweedsiders continued to lump the pressure on. After 10 minutes play on the Melrose try line Darren Gillespie forced his way over to tie the scores and leave the game hanging in the balance with 10 minutes remaining and the score at 16-16.
With five minutes left Helps banged over another penalty for Melrose and still Kelso never gave up. One of their final surges towards the line saw Adam Alexander brutally stopped in his tracks by one of the Melrose forwards and still they charged. It was not to be though and it was with great relief that the Melrose men greeted the final whistle with the score standing at Kelso 16 Melrose 19.
Kelso: W. Massey; A. Haig, C. Brown, A. Alexander, G. Minto; M. Hastie, F. Strachan; K. Cooney, C. Riddell, A. Marsh, D. Seed, J. Stewart, M. Robertson, E. Ford, D. Gillespie. Subs: D. Redstone, A. Wallace, S. McColl, D. Buckley, T. Wilson.
Melrose: A. Skeen; L. Mallen, J. Murray, J. Helps, U. Kalamafoni; R. Mill, S. McCormick; C. Keen, R. Ferguson, G. Holorn, R. Ovens, R. Miller, C. Wilde, D. Crawford, A. Nagle. Subs: W. Mitchell, C. Arthur, M. Stewart, B. Colvine, S. Chalmers.