Utterson swansong goes well

Falkirk 18

Kelso 27

PREMIER C

NORMAN ANDERSON reports from Sunnyside

For the third Saturday in a row, Kelso went on the road and won.

The usual keen and vocal Tweedside support was in attendance – this was Kevin Utterson’s final game for the Tweedsiders after a long career at Poynder Park, interrupted only by his involvement in pro and international rugby which saw him win his three Scottish caps.

Kelso enjoyed early possession, but Falkirk opened the scoring with a penalty by full back Jonny Hope. Keiran Wilkinson immediately replied for Kelso. Then, from a line-out on the 5m line, the ball was spun out to Craig Renton to scuttle in for a smart try, converted by Wilkinson.

Hope reduced the leeway through a penalty, but as half-time approached a catch and drive from the line-out produced a touchdown for the ever-eager Chris Riddell to stretch Kelso’s lead to 15-6.

An early penalty miss by Falkirk was quickly followed by a top-class try by Richard Minto, who ran through at pace to score.

The home team had their passage of pressure, but the Kelso defence held on and a break by Utterson was rewarded when Richard Minto flipped the ball inside to his brother Gregg, who went over for the bonus-point try. Wilkinson converted and Kelso looked home and dry at 27-6.

The home side never gave up, though, and it was no surprise to see them score a try after good support play allowed flanker Jeff Lepa in. Hope converted.

Falkirk continued to exert pressure on a Kelso team which had by now lost several players to injury. A skirmish saw referee Andy Ireland brandish red cards to Kieran Cooney and Falkirk lock Keepa Mewett, while Gregg Minto was sin-binned, resulting in uncontested scrums. A fine try by Falkirk winger Niall Lear finished the game.

Kelso: K. Wilkinson; L. Mallin, R. Minto, K. Utterson, G. Minto; C. Renton, M. Hastie; K. Cooney, C. Riddell, A. Marsh, A. Wallace, D. Seed, I. Wallace, E. Ford, J. Stevenson. Subs: A. Frame, R. Henderson, B. Thomson, A. Tait.