Kelso up to sixth in rugby’s Scottish Premiership after last-ditch win at Heriot’s Blues
The Borderers went 7-0 down early on at Edinburgh’s Goldenacre playing fields, later trailing 14-5, 24-8 just after half-time and 31-20.
They managed to remain just within reach as the final whistle neared to give themselves a chance of snatching what had earlier seemed an unlikely victory, and snatch it they did, via a last-gasp try from Keith Mebourne to edge out their hosts by 32-31.
“It was a good win,” said Hinnigan. “To be honest, we didn’t start well. They scored within the first minute and we were 7-0 down and kind of fearing the worst then.
“We got back into it and were 19-8 down at half-time, but straight after the break, in the first minute, we conceded a try again and that was us 24-8 down.
“At that point, it really did seem like it wasn’t going to be our day and we were out of it, but we got a good try by Frankie Robson under the posts round about the 50-minute mark, and from there our momentum just sort of snowballed.
“It was pretty much all Kelso for the last 25 minutes but the only time we led was from the 78th minute to the 81st.
“Again, it was just down to great character being shown by the players, a never-say-die attitude.
“In the first half, we were really sloppy and there were a lot of individual errors, but for the last half an hour we were really good and it all came together.
“When that happened, we just sort of clicked and away we went.
“I was really pleased. We only conceded four penalties in the whole game because our discipline was really, really good. It was a really clean game actually, with both teams out to play open rugby, and that’s why it finished 32-31.”
Head coach Kevin Utterson’s visitors’ other try-scorers at the weekend besides Melbourne and captain Robson were Terry Logan, Angus Roberts and Dwain Patterson, with Patterson adding two conversions and a penalty.
Heriot’s tries were scored by Harry Hitchens, Paul Christie at the double, Angus Hunter and Graham Wilson, with Kenta Kutsuna kicking three conversions.
Saturday’s win lifts Kelso, third from bottom until the week before last, above Heriot’s in the Scottish Premiership table, up to sixth place, on 30 points from 11 fixtures.
Next up for them is a Borders derby this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm, table-toppers Hawick being their visitors at Poynder Park.
The Greens won the reverse fixture at Mansfield Park in September so Hinnigan is hoping for a reaction from his team to that 61-7 spanking, their first defeat following their promotion as Scottish National League Division 1 champions.
“We lost heavily up there at the start of the season – it was a kind of welcome-to-the-premiership moment – and it stung us a bit, so this is a chance to at least get some respect back and give them a run for their money,” he said.
“At home, we’ll be looking to do that, and if we can stay in the game long enough, who knows what could happen, but it’ll be a really, really difficult ask.
“We are going to struggle, even at home, against them, but you just never know.
“That’s three wins out of three for us, so our confidence is reasonably high, but we’re not getting carried away at all.
“We’re happy enough with how we’re playing and we’re doing okay, so we’ll see what Saturday brings but it’ll be a very tough match.”