Kelso 6, Jed-Forest 53
If ever proof were needed of the gulf between the top of National 1 and Premiership next season, and a team which has spent much of the earlier part of the season in the relegation zone, it was clearly evident at Poynder Park on Saturday.
Both sides were short of their optimum selection and it was particularly noticeable up front for Kelso.
It was the hosts who opened the scoring, with a penalty for Murray Hastie, when Jed were guilty of not releasing after a tackle. Soon after, Angus Common was yellow-carded for a dangerous challenge.
Jed took full advantage of the numerical difference with a try from a driven line out by hooker Cammy McKay, and then Hastie kicked a second penalty to put Kelso ahead by 6-5.
But a bouncing ball in the Kelso 22 was snapped up by Robbie Shirra-Gibb to dash over for the try. Gary Munro was unsuccessful with both conversions.
Jed were starting to turn the screw on the hosts and had a try disallowed for obstruction in the act of scoring. Their next reward was not long in coming when a Kelso scrum was penalised.
The penalty was kicked into touch and the driven line out brought another try for McKay. for Munro to add the extra points this time.
Just on half time, the visitors secured the bonus point when, yet again, Kelso failed to deal with a bouncing ball in the danger area. From the scrum, centre Rory Marshall burst straight through to take Jed to a 22-6 lead at half time.
Changes were made at the break – but to no great avail for Kelso. After a short respite for a chat between the referee and one of his assistants to debate the legality of a Jed tackle, it was back to business for Jed when, from a tapped penalty, prop Paulo Ferriera was driven over.
Munro added the extra two points and shortly after, at a disrupted Kelso scrum, Robbie Yourston crossed close enough for Munro to convert again.
The next try was not too long in coming when skipper Gregor Law crossed in the corner, with Munro once more converting.
The referee warned Kelso for another scrum offence and they knew things were about to get worse if they infringed again.
Munro missed a sitter for Jed when he lost possession with the line at his mercy. A brave tackle saved Kelso shortly after but the next try came from another powerful scrum, when Darren Gillespie forced his way over.
Deep into injury time, Kelso’s miserable day was over with a ninth try by Jye McGough, to take the score to 53-6 to Jed and enough for them to keep the pressure on Marr for the league title with one game left, and for Jed captain, Gregor Law, to collect the Kenneth Ballantyne Cup.
Kelso, who have retained their place in National 1 for next season, finish with a home game against Cartha QP on April 20.
Kelso: Mark Wilson, Gregor Miller, Gregor Mein, Matt Kindness, Craig Bruce, Murray Hastie, Phil Hume, Craig Sweenie, Michael Downer, Blair Robertson, Alex Thompson, Angus Common, Cammy Brown, Kevin Wilson, Kris Mein. Replacements: Charlie Marshall, Roy Maxwell, Fergus Common, Tony Wichary, Max Oliver.
Scorer: Hastie (two penalties).
Jed-Forest: Martin Chisholm, Gary Munro, Calum Young, Rory Marshall, Robbie Shirra-Gibb, Robbie Yourston, Jye McGough, Grant Paxton, Cameron McKay, Paulo Ferreira, Kyle Amos, Clark Skeldon, Jack Howe, Gregor Law, Darren Gillespie. Replacements: Jamie Bowie, James Oliver, Gavin Kerr, William Owen, Stephen Smith.
Scorers: McKay (two tries), Ferriera, Law, Marshall. McGough, Yourston, Shirra-Gibb, Gillespie (tries). Munro (four conversions).