After last Saturday’s pummelling by Aberdeen Grammar, Kelso had a chance to redeem themselves with a rearranged home games against Peebles.
The game was switched from later in the season due to Kelso requesting dispensation from playing their game on the weekend of the Welsh international.
Kelso were a little under strength as no doubt were Peebles.
Now, it is a little sad to see Borders sides propping up the league but that is the way of the world just now. For the winner a move up the league; for the loser a big worry about their prospects for the season.
It was a fine day for a rugby match, albeit with an early kick off, which was not likely to attract a big crowd. Kelso drew first blood with an Andrew Skeen penalty for a ruck offense. Peebles exerted a little pressure with some good rugby playing the ball through the hands. Kelso did not help themselves with some slipshod tackling and the equalising penalty came from the boot of Greg Raeburn.
A dominant Kelso scrum resulted in the visitors collapsing and with the penalty being kicked into the corner, an initial try looked on but for the hosts knocking the ball on in the line out. The respite for Peebles was short lived, however, as newcomer, Conway Pretorius, picked up at the base of the scrum , feeding Ewan Ford who smashed through for the try which was converted by Skeen.
Good work by the Kelso forwards brought another try, which was again converted by Skeen, by the powerful Henri Boshoff.
Peebles pressure was soon rewarded when the home team conceded a scrum penalty for Raeburn to reduce the deficit to 17-6. This pattern continued with Kelso being stretched out wide but it was from another scrum penalty which allowed the gap to close even farther with Raeburn’s third penalty.
Half time approached but there was enough time for Skeen to kick another penalty to close the half at 20-9.
Although the second half started with some helter skelter play by both sides it was the visitors who pounced first as replacement second row, Willie Brown, scored under the posts again after some less than heroic tackling by Kelso. Raeburn converted. An immediate response came from Kelso, with hooker, Ross Henderson, bull dozing his way over at the culmination of some good play by his colleagues in the scrum. Skeen converted.
A try saving tackle by Andy Tait kept Peebles at bay and the quickly recycled ball took play upfield and Lewis Wichary was on hand to break through a few tackles to secure the bonus point try. The conversion was missed but it took Kelso to 32-16 and looking home and hosed with about 8 minutes to go. However, acting as the perfect host, Kelso’s ever generous defence allowed Peebles in for another two tries through winger, Aaron Wilson and, with the last play of the match, prop, James Cockburn, after some strong running and controlled ruck ball.
Both teams came away with some of the spoils as Kelso recorded their first home win of the season and secured a try bonus point and Peebles came through at the end with a late try and conversion to snatch a losing bonus point.
Kelso: Andrew Skeen, Mark Wilson, Lewis Wichary, Ewan Ford, Kevin Wilson, Phil Hume , Andy Tait Henri Boshoff, Ross Henderson, Blair Robertson , Andrew Wallace, Ian Wallace, Chris Riddell, Conway Pretorius and Gavin Blair. Subs: Stuart Lowrie, Michael Barber, Angus Common, Ally Johnston and Mikey Horsburgh.
Scorers: Ewan Ford, Henri Boshoff, Ross Henderson and Lewis Wichary tries and Andrew Skeen 3 conversions and 2 penalties.
Peebles: Greg Raeburn, Conor Blyth, Callum Anderson, Donald Anderson, Arron Wilson, Mitch McGahan, David Anderson, Willie Napier, Andrew Muir, James Cockburn, Ross Brown, David Paton, Murdo Anderson, Richard Harrison, Kieran Brown.
Scorers: tries by Willie Brown, Aaron Wilson and James Cockburn Greg Raeburn 1 con and 3 penalties.