Gala win breaks three-game losing sequence
Gala 23, Kelso 15
Storm Callum had a lot to answer for, as it was a very wet day, but the underfoot conditions were never going to prevent this from being an interesting contest.
Kelso, without Craig Dods but with the return of Iain Sim, started the game as they left off against
GHA when scoring their first win the previous Saturday.
Their early play was most encouraging and they took the lead after seven minutes when Gala conceded a penalty for not releasing the tackled player. Murray Hastie slotted the penalty from 25 metres.
A break by Gregor Mein was taken on by Cormac Izuchukwu, who was bundled into touch. Kelso won the ball and a deft chip through by Murray Hastie was followed up by Kevin Wilson, who scooped up the ball as he crossed the line. Hastie missed the conversion.
Dean Keddie had an immediate opportunity to reduce the leeway but his penalty was wide. This was enough to give Gala the impetus, however, and their scrum started to get on top.
Kelso were conceding penalties in this area and this forced them into a making a replacement, with Rhys Morgan coming on for Michael Downer. The situation was not really resolved as the penalties still kept coming.
Both teams appeared to be upsetting the referee, as a team warning was given out to each side for persistent infringements.
Gala were starting to turn the screw and, despite solid Kelso defence, the dam burst and Simon Fairburn sneaked over near the posts, for an easy conversion by Dean Keddie.
Keddie pushed the hosts into the lead with a penalty from 35 metres after 37 minutes and there was no doubt that Gala finished the first half comfortably the better team, as the break came with a 10-8 lead.
The start of the second half was mistake-ridden, as there were four scrums for knock-ons in the first few minutes.
Another scrum penalty gave Keddie an opportunity to take the hosts further ahead at 13-8.
After 64 minutes, Kelso were reduced to 14 as Rhys Morgan was yellow-carded and, with Robert Hastie sacrificed for the card, to allow a prop to come on, the scrum was further weakened. Stephen Cairns was at the end of a pushover try for the homesters.
A golden opportunity to increase the lead was spurned when prop Terry Logan missed out on a three-on-one overlap and was tackled, much to the annoyance of team mates and supporters alike.
The next try, however, was not long in coming when, from a clean line out, won on the stand side, the ball was moved all the way across to the wing. Ross Cooke took his try well and cut in to near the posts, to make the conversion for Keddie a virtual formality.
Kelso had the last word, however, when a succession of penalties against Gala resulted in a yellow card to Cameron Pate and a try for the youngster, Robert Hastie, which his namesake, Murray, converted .
This gave the visitors a sniff of a losing bonus point, but it was not to be.
For Kelso, it was a disappointment after last week, while Gala stemmed a run of three straight defeats but may have been equally disappointed at failing to secure the four-try bonus point.