Kelso’s Dwain Patterson makes Jed-Forest pay penalty for falling short in first derby in rugby’s Scottish Premiership for almost 25 years
With the season now at the halfway stage, however, the Jedburgh side need to be tasting tobacco – metaphorically, at least – rather than taking heart from close-run things as they’ve only got nine games left to engineer a move away from the foot of the table if they’re to avoid joining Gala and Melrose in Scottish National League Division 1.
Saturday’s 30-21 defeat on the road at Poynder Park was Jed’s ninth on the bounce this season and it leaves them ten points adrift of second-bottom Selkirk in the relegation spot.
Nine fixtures into the season, Jed are on three points, the Souters on 13 and third-from-bottom Kelso on 20.
Their try-scorers at the weekend were Owen Cranston, Harvey Keith and captain Clark Skeldon, with Gary Munro converting all three.
Kelso’s tries were touched down by player-coach Bruce McNeil, Archie Barbour and skipper Frankie Robson, but it was Dwain Patterson’s boot that proved to be their match-winner as, besides, like Munro, adding three conversions, he kicked three penalties, one from more than 45m out.
This coming Saturday sees Jed away to third-placed Edinburgh Academical and Kelso hosting fourth-placed Musselburgh, both their opponents being on 29 points from nine fixtures. Those games kick off at 3pm.
Though cheered by his side’s second-half turnaround after going into the break 24-7 down and then falling a further three points behind, Skeldon wasn’t happy about the head-start they gave their hosts.
“That wasn’t the sort of performance we put in last week against Marr,” he told Borders Rugby TV afterwards.
“We wanted to replicate that performance today, but credit to Kelso in the first half, they kicked well and they kept us in our own half, and we made some crucial errors that ended up leading to their tries.
“We were disappointed with that but we got back into the game in the second half and stopped them scoring any more tries. That was definitely a positive we can try and take from the game, but I was bitterly disappointed with the result and first-half performance.”
His opposite number was also frustrated with his side, for letting their visitors back into the game after the break, saying: “We certainly did let it slip a bit, to be honest.
“We were 20 points up at one point but ended up winning by nine, which is not ideal.
“The way we played in the first half was really pleasing. We made some good front-foot carries and we were dominating them up front. It was also good to see us making some clean line-breaks.
“I was definitely happy with our first-half performance but we did let it slip a bit in the second half.”
Saturday’s match was a Border League double-header and it leaves Jed bottom of that table too, without any points from three fixtures.
Kelso are third, on eight points from four matches.
Next for Jed in the regional league is a visit from second-bottom Gala on Saturday, December 16.
Kelso’s next Border League match is also against Gala, away at Netherdale, but it’s not until Friday, February 23.