Kelso 9Selkirk 25
|Kelso welcomed back Graeme Cowe and Sean Common from
the injured list for this Borders derby against Selkirk at Poynder Park. For the Souters, Ryan Crockett was injured
in the pre-match warm up and his place was taken by the evergreen Scott Tomlinson.
With the Tweedsiders desperate for a win, this was always going to be a tight affair and the first fifteen minutes saw both sides locked in forward exchanges in attempts to gain the upper hand. Kelso had the benefit of a gentle breeze in their favour but kicking mistakes by both sets of backs set the early pattern. Selkirk were first to get points on the board when David Cassidy stroked over a fine penalty from 40 metres into the wind. Five minutes later the visitors scored their first try. Initially, a fine break by Gavin Craig stretched the Kelso defences and Lee Jones touched down for a try out wide after David Cassidy had broken clear down the left touchline.. The 8-0 lead was really no more than Selkirk deserved and Kelso full-back Graeme Cowe was forced to retire with a painful rib injury shortly thereafter.
Kelso stormed back into the game and Kevin Utterson showed his power with a strong run from mid-field. Fraser Harkness stood between him and a probable try but a chip ahead resulted in the Kelso centre losing his footing and the chance was lost. However, Greg Ponton opened Kelso's account on the 25 minutes mark with a well struck penalty. The gap was narrowed 5 minutes later when Ponton kicked a successful penalty from close to the half way line. Kelso hooker, Garret Walsh was yellow-carded but David Cassidy's penalty attempt flew wide. Martin Murray had a typical rumble with ball in hand, but as half time approached another Ponton penalty gave Kelso a narrow lead, rather against the run of play. The game had followed the pattern of recent Kelso/Selkirk fixtures with little open running rugby to excite the spectators. Selkirk's first half line-out play was impressive with Rory Aglen and Eddie Gauche to the fore.
The second half opened with a blow for Selkirk when referee Rupert Henderson yellow-carded centre Ross Nixon. Despite being down to 14 men, Selkirk enjoyed a decent spell of pressure. Kelso defended well until the 65th minute when fly-half Gavin Craig split clean through to score a brilliant individual try between the posts. This proved to be the turning point in the game. Cassidy added the easy conversion and the match was running away from the home team when David added a further three points from a penalty goal. Selkirk continued to kick their way into Kelso territory by taking good advantage of the elements in their favour and frankly, the home team never threatened to score a try throughout the second period. Gavin Craig made yet another telling break before he was replaced by Guy Blair with 10 minutes to go. The icing on the cake was provided with another cracking try. Blair linked well with Fraser Harkness who, in turn, unselfishly fed Scott Hendrie to secure Selkirk's third try of the afternoon. Cassidy made the conversion look simple and the final score line of 25-9 to Selkirk brought a successful September to an end for the Philiphaugh squad. Three successive wins away from home have helped to elevate Selkirk to 3rd place in Premier League Division 2. Next week's crunch game against unbeaten leaders, Haddington will not be a contest for the faint-hearted. At the other end of the table, Kelso will be hoping to get a first win under their belts against Hillhead-Jordanhill.