If there’s one main thing Jed-Forest struggled with in this BT National One opener, it was discipline, but a decent place-kicker would not have been unwelcome.
It all looked so good for Jammy McFarlane’s men with three minutes on the clock. A Gregor Young burst of speed took him clear and a nice inside pass to his brother Lewis brought the first try.
The ease with which this touchdown was scored was somewhat ominous for the Tweedsiders, the Young brothers slicing through the defence like a hot knife through ghee. But they needn’t have worried.
Jed newbie Gregor Mein thumped over the conversion, but he was not to have a good day with the boot.
Kelso then enjoyed a lot of the ball, and more than a few decisions from referee Craig Clark, but were largely unable to break the Jed line.
What they did break, however, was the patience of the home side, as they resorted to foul play in their efforts,
On the few instances the visitors relinquished control of the ball, Jed did look the more dangerous side, with the backs having more pace and attacking ideas.
However, Kelso had the edge in the forwards, with Jed struggling in the scrum and line-out.
After 24 minutes, a rather enterprising break from Kelso’s Phil Hume from a tap and go penalty got the Tweedsiders back in Jed territory and after a series of drives, Kev Wilson touched down under the posts for Andrew Skeen to convert. It did seem justice had been served after all their hard work.
The visitors burst into the lead for the first time in the 35th minute. Hume made another run, his kick ahead forcing a knock-on from Rory Marshall, and three drives after that Kelso full back Gary Mulroy popped over for Kelso’s second try, hurting his ribs in the process. Andrew Skeen made the difficult conversion from the sideline.
With 40 minutes on the clock,
Gary Johnstone missed an eminently kickable penalty well short of the bar. And Jed managed to get up the other side, eventually, without committing a foul, so when Tony Wichary went over to score, there was 49 minutes on the clock. Mein’s conversion was missed, making it 12-14 to the visitors at half-time.
After the restarts, a great piece of poaching from Liam Tait led to him passing on to Phil Hume, who scored a fantastic heart-breaker of a try in the corner in the first minute. Andrew Skeen slotted the conversion.
That spark of speed that comes from confidence was now missing in Jed’s play.
However, the Royal Blues narrowed the gap as Daniel Ritchie scored in the corner from a quick-thinking tap-and-go penalty. But Gregor Mein’s conversion effort, three yards in from the touchline, was sklaffed badly.
Kelso gave themselves a converted-try cushion as Andrew Skeen notched a penalty in the 69th minute.
However, Jed could have ... and probably should have been back in it.
After a long period of pressure on the Kelso line, the ball was passed out to Gregor Mein, who touched down. The pressure conversion was given to Daniel Ritchie, who sclaffed it worse than Mein.
And the home men had another chance to seal the match as Stuart Lowrie was sinbinned for what looked like a bit of stamping on Lewis Young. The penalty, from 30m in a tricky wind, taken by Gregor Mein, unbelievably came back off crossbar.
Kelso managed to hold out in injury time and they were clearly delighted to have earned such a good local scalp in the derby opener.
SEE MORE ON THIS GAME IN THE SOUTHERN ON THURSDAY.
POST-MATCH REACTION VIDEO TO FOLLOW.