Kelso to the four in Borders derby as Selkirk's composure disintegrates
Kelso 29, Selkirk 14
The game between these two earlier in the season resulted in a win for Selkirk, thanks largely to a completely dominant scrum.
They came to Poynder Park with their tails up after a run of five league wins on the spin and safe in the knowledge that it was a long time since Kelso beat another Border team.
The early part of the game suggested nothing was going to change, as Kelso could just not get their hands on the
An excellent try came after only nine minutes when the ball was whizzed along the line to the flying Darren Clapperton, who scorched in at the corner. Rory Banks kicked a fine touchline conversion.
Shortly afterwards, Clapperton again showed his pace after a tapped penalty but he was tap tackled. Selkirk won quick ruck ball and, this time, it was full back Henry Bithray, who raced over for the try and, again, Banks slotted the conversion from the other touchline.
A betting man just would not have backed Kelso at this stage but the visitors started to feel the wrath of the referee, with a succession of bad tackles resulting in penalties.
From a line out won by Cammy Brown, scrum half and captain, Phil Hume, skipped through the gap created in the line and raced 25 metres to score near the posts. Murray Hastie chipped over an easy conversion.
The second quarter belonged to Kelso, with no little help from the Selkirk side, which committed enough penalties to upset the referee, and James Bett was yellow-carded.
Kelso kicked a penalty into the corner and from off the top ball, Kelso moved the ball through Gregor Mein, Brown and Kevin Dryden. Another penalty gave Hastie the chance to reduce the lead to 14-10 at half time.
The second half resumed in the same manner as the first had ended, with Kelso pressure and Selkirk conceding penalties.
Hastie hit the post with a penalty and then there was an assistant referee intervention for a high tackle on Dryden. Shortly after, Connor Higgins was next to go to the bin.
The hosts worried the Souters’ defence when Kev Wilson burst inside. He was stopped short but there followed a plethora of dull scrums near the Selkirk line, all resulting in penalties to Kelso. Luke Pettie was next to go to the bin following some illegal scrummaging.
The question at this stage was whether the scrums would be contested or not. Kelso took advantage of the visitors’ short numbers when Craig Dods sent out a long pass to Dryden to scamper over in the corner. The conversion hit the posts.
A break by Dods and Gregor Mein took play well into the visitors 22, and another yellow card, for Selkirk captain Ewan MacDougall, for handling in the ruck, made life easy for Kelso to see out the game with a win.
Derek Welsh made a lung-bursting dash upfield. A speedy bit of recycling led to Michael Downer scoring his sixth try of the season, while Hastie converted to take the home side to 22-14 clear.
A succession of turn overs led to an exciting finish but not before Kelso scored their fourth try, by Cammy Brown, to assure the win and a bonus point. Hastie converted to give a 29-14 win for the Tweedsiders and a total of 33 league points.
Selkirk tried hard to restore some pride but the game was up for them. It could be said they were the manufacturers of their own downfall, with a surprisingly ill-disciplined display. At one point in the second half, they gave away 10 penalties in a row. Add to that their four yellow cards, and the result was no surprise.
With one game to go before the Christmas break, Kelso can feel happy with their performance over the past couple of months as they leave some clear water between them and those beneath them in National 1. This weekend, Kelso travel to Aberdeen, while Selkirk are at home to struggling Cartha Queen’s Park.