RBS NATIONAL LEAGUE
NORMAN ANDERSON reports from Laigh Bent
THE Tweedsiders were behind after only three minutes when Chris Stannage scored in the right-hand corner.
Murray Hastie reduced the deficit by kicking a penalty, taking him through the 100-point barrier for the season.
Kelso crossed the home line after a loose ball was secured on the ground. A thrust by Gregg Minto, followed by Kieran Cooney, took the ball up to the Hamilton line and, eventually, captain Chris Riddell was driven over after 21 minutes. Hastie slotted the conversion to put the visitors 10-5 ahead.
However, the lead did not last long. Following a line-out and drive, a stretch by home second row Kenny Brown brought a try in 26 minutes.
A succession of aimless kicks by both teams brought no reward until a catch in the line-out by Donald Seed on the five-metre mark took the Kelso pack over the line for another try through Stuart Lowrie after 30 minutes.
Hastie kicked the goal, but Lowrie, who seemed to have been injured during his drive over the line, was replaced by Derek Welsh.
The second half started with a penalty offence against Kelso, putting them under pressure, but solid defence held out and they worked their way upfield. James Stewart won a ball at the tail of the line-out, but as the drive went towards the Hamilton line, the ball was spilled and another chance was gone.
The Borderers were conceding a number of penalties to the obvious annoyance of referee Mhairi Hay and Chris Riddell, the Kelso captain, was warned about this. Ian Wallace lasted only a few minutes before he was yellow-carded for persistent infringement of the laws. This led to a passage of dominance by Hamilton and only desperate rearguard action by Kelso held the line.
The break had to come, however, and after 69 minutes Andy Hill went over for a try close enough to the posts for Owen McLeish to convert to take the score to 17-17.
Hastie booted Kelso into the lead again with a penalty for offside. Then the visitors pushed Hamilton off their own scrum on the 22 and Michael Robertson picked up at No8 and raced in at the corner unopposed.
Kelso: W. Massey; A. Haig, R. Minto, A. Alexander, G. Minto; M. Hastie, A. Tait; K. Cooney, C. Riddell, S. Lowrie, I. Wallace, D. Seed, M. Robertson, E. Ford, J. Stewart. Subs: D. Welsh, D. Redstone, S. MacColl and G. Millar.