Kelso gain win over promotion chasers

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Watsonians 13 Kelso 26


After the torrential rain on Friday this match was in a little doubt but with this being mid-term, no school matches had been played on the pitch in the morning.

That was a blessing as the ground was soft enough. Kelso had already snatched a last minute win over Watsonians earlier in the season and it would seem that the hosts were out for revenge.

However they never looked like potential league winners or even reaching the play offs. Their pack was totally demolished by the Kelso scrum. If Watsonians did not concede the ball, they conceded a penalty and, as the first half wore on, the likelihood of further sanctions imposed by referee, Iain Heard, became more certain.

Kelso had an early chance to open the scoring with a very ambitious attempt at a penalty by Matt Douglas. It was just outwith his range, however. The first try for Kelso did not take too long to come when, after relentless support play took the game into the Watsonians 22 area. From a scrum, number 8, Michael Robertson, picked up and, eventually, Ali Marsh was driven over the line for a try with Matt Douglas converting to take the visitors 7 points clear.

Watsonians reduced the leeway with a couple of penalties by Ben Di Rollo but that only delayed the Kelso onslaught. All the damage was being done in the scrum and fine play by Gregg Minto, Frankie Robson and Matt Douglas took the play up to the city side’s line. A succession of scrums followed by penalties brought the inevitable penalty try which Douglas converted after 28 minutes.

Play continued near the host’s line and another massive scrum led to Neil Irvine-Hess being yellow carded. The depleted home- pack could not resist the next Kelso scrum and, again, Robertson picked up at the base and some laboured rather than snappy passing delivered the ball to Gregg Minto on the left. He brushed off some less than heroic tackling and went in at the corner to take Kelso 19-6 ahead at the break.

The second half started with a bout of aerial ping pong until the sides settled after the break. It was Watsonians who had the first chance when Scott McKean intercepted and took play into the Kelso 22. However, a poor penalty attempt relieved the pressure. Douglas sent a huge kick downfield. Following a good run by Liam Tait, who had a splendid match, Andy Tait and Robson kept the squeeze on Watsonians. A speculative kick by Andy Tait went in to the home team’s in goal area where it was completely missed by Jack Ferguson for the ever alert Richard Minto to touch down for the bonus point try. Douglas converted to take Kelso 20 points clear with the game now into the last quarter.

Watsonians exerted a period of pressure on Kelso, who were starting to concede penalties. The home side worked hard for position and, ironically, from a scrum they managed to drive replacement prop, James Forester, over for a try which Di Rollo converted.

Mistakes by both sides became commonplace in the game and the only features of the latter part of the game were a yellow card for Gregg Minto for a spot of ill discipline and the fact that Kelso all of a sudden decided to entertain the crowd by throwing the ball about instead of doing what had been effective all day: driving into the heart of the Watsonians pack.

Kelso are now guaranteed to win more games than they have lost in the league as this was the ninth win of the season. Although, they cannot reach the play off place, they can be instrumental in who does. This win meant that Boroughmuir win the league and their game against Stewart Melville in two weeks time could go a long way in determining who gets second although Watsonians entertain Stewarts Melville in the last game of the season with the second league place at stake.

Kelso: Murray Hastie; Mark Wilson, Frankie Robson, Richard Minto, Gregg Minto; Matthew Douglas, Andy Tait; Kieran Cooney, Chris Riddell (capt), Ali Marsh, Donald Seed, Angus Common, Ian Wallace, Liam Tait and Michael Robertson. Replacements: Gordon Harkins, Terry Skeet, Gregor Millar, Ally Johnstone.

Scorers: Ali Marsh penalty, Gregg Minto, Richard Minto 1 try each. Matt Douglas 3 cons.