Christmas cheer for Kelso at top of table
Kelso 31, Biggar 17
League leaders Kelso welcomed Biggar – the only side to have beaten them in the League this year – to Poynder Park on Christmas lunch day.
The black-and-whites welcomed back second row Donald Seed after a calf injury in a must-win game.
There was a minutes silence before kick-off for ex-Kelso president Stewart Wallace, who sadly passed away last month.
The game started at a frantic pace and Kelso were immediately into the Biggar 22 after some fine direct running from the home pack.
Kelso were lacking any real patience, which resulted in them losing the ball to their visitors.
Biggar enjoyed a good spell after the initial Kelso onslaught, the Hartree Mill men were keen to throw the ball about and their back play was very good to watch, although it would be into the second half before they would score a try.
Kelso were the first team to get over the try line and they scored through Colin ‘Coco’ Arthur. He took the ball from 10 metres out and there was absolutely no stopping him as he barged his way over the line. Phil Hume added the conversion and Kelso were back in the driving seat.
The black-and-whites were immediately straight back at Biggar and Dom Buckley was close to setting a try up for winger Gregg Minto. A delightful kick through left Minto and his opposite man David Patterson in a foot race for the ball but it was the Biggar man who managed to boot it out of danger.
Captain Buckley was to be the next scorer when he burrowed his way over the line. Kelso had a 5m scrum and, when Buckley’s initial break was stopped short of the line, the Kelso pack were trying to get over the whitewash. But the Biggar defence was holding out until Buckley got the ball and he was not to be stopped. Hume missed the extras.
Biggar got themselves on the scoresheet after stand off Aird Jardine kicked a penalty. The stand-off had a very good game organising his troops.
The visitors were then reduced to 14 men when Euan Sanderson was yellow-carded for a small dust-up. Kelso very nearly made the extra man count when Nick Hart found himself out on the wing and the big hooker was tackled inches short of the line. Kelso recycled the ruck ball but Biggar were penalised for being offside.
Kelso elected to take the scrum and the extra man made a huge difference as Buckley scored his second try of the game from a dominant pushover scrum. Hume added the extras.
Biggar started the second half very strongly and scored a fine try when their driving maul was driven from all of 22 metres. Zander Lyon was the man at the base and he scored the try. Aird Jardine kicked
the conversion and Biggar were back in the game.
The men from Hartree Mill really had the bit between their teeth and Kelso were conceding too many penalties. Tom Robson was yellow-carded after referee Darroch Ramsay had warned Kelso about their penalty count.
The loss of Robson only seemed to inspire the Tweedsiders and they scored a fine try through flying winger Arran Jackson. A superb break from Andrew Skeen was finished off well by Jackson and he sped in for the try, with Phil Hume adding the extras.
Dom Buckley then completed his hat-trick of tries when he hit his trademark beautiful angle from a ruck and wrong-footed Biggar winger Alistair Sinclair, scoring a great solo try in the corner. Hume missed the conversion from the touchline.
Buckley then ruined his day when he was yellow-carded after being offside twice in 20 seconds, and referee Ramsay sent him to the sidelines.
The game became scrappy towards the end, although Biggar finished the stronger. The Hartree men were very unlucky not to score after some fine work from their forwards but they knocked the ball on when the line was in sight.
The visitors did have the final say and it was a very well-worked try. Aird Jardine floated a testing kick into the Kelso 22 an Andy Jardine showed fantastic hands and fed Craig McDonald to score. Aird Jardine added the extras after a minute of injury time.
It was another very good five league points for Kelso against a plucky Biggar side. There is no game now until Kelso travel to GHK away on January 7.
Kelso are top of BT National League Division 2 at Christmas, but there is a long way to go.
Kelso: Dods, Jackson, Roberts, Hume, Minto, Skeen, Tait, Arthur, Hart, Morgan, Seed, Lawlor, Dunbar, Wallace, Buckley (c). Substitutes: Ford, Fairbairn, Robson, Johnston,