Kelso drive a hard victory



AFTER five successive defeats, Kelso, at last, won a game when playing host to neighbours Jed-Forest in a Border Cup tie on Saturday.

The homesters dominated both scrum and lineout, and took the lead after 14 minutes when they drove Jed back and scrum half Andy Tait nipped in to touch down. Matty Douglas converted, as he did with a penalty soon after.

There followed a passage of possession and pressure for Jed, but resolute Kelso defence held them out.

The Tweedsiders lost Richard Minto and Terry Skeet to injury at the same time. As they reorganised, they conceded a penalty at the next scrum. Chris Laidlaw converted and, with the next play, put Jed in a scoring position in the Kelso 22. Alan Frame was driven over from the lineout and Laidlaw converted to level.

The second half started with an exchange of penalties between Douglas and Laidlaw. Kelso had another good drive up the touchline, only to be called back for an accidental offside. From the ensuing scrum, Kelso shunted the Jed pack towards the line and number 8, Michael Robertson, drove over for a try. Douglas failed to convert, but he was more successful with his next kick, the conversion of Kelso’s third try which came from their most potent weapon – the driven lineout.

With 15 minutes to go, it appeared that Kelso were home and hosed, but they had not taken into account the Riverside men’s fighting spirit. Laidlaw slotted a penalty before replacement winger Declan Wallace won the race to a hack through after centre Monty Mitchell had chipped the ball beyond the Kelso defence.

Kelso had to defend heroically and were grateful to Matt Douglas and Murray Hastie for long clearance kicks. Jed were not quite buried and hammered away at the home line as the game went into injury time. The hosts held on to win the game and the Kenneth Ballantyne Memorial Cup for the first time.