Selkirk 21 Kelso 21

21 Today for Selkirk and Kelso

You Bett He's hard to stop !! Hooker James Bett takes the attention of two Kelso players during a thrillng draw at Philphaugh (All photos Grant Kinghon

The early exchanges in this typical Borders derby saw both teams testing each other out and it was Selkirk who emerged with the opening points. Stand-off Gavin Craig floated a neat chip into space and winger Scott Hendrie showed soccer skills and control to score an unconverted try in the corner. With the breeze in their favour, the powerful Kelso pack was putting Selkirk under pressure in the scrums although the Souters were competing well at the lineouts. Kelso No 10 Ben Cooper turned pressure into points from a penalty when he effortlessly struck the ball between the uprights after 15 minutes. The Souters were dealt a blow when No 8 Matt Kissick suffered a rib injury and played no further part in the game. With Ewan MacDougall on as a replacement Selkirk stormed back in style and skipper Ross Nixon managed to offload a scoring pass to the industrious Angus Duckett who had a clear run in close to the posts leaving a simple conversion for Josh Welsh. The home team immediately went back into attack mode deep into Kelso territory but they were dealt with a sucker punch when a long floated pass from Gavin Craig was intercepted by Kieran Cooney, hacked on by Michael Robertson and then it was David Gobby's turn to demonstrate his footballing skills as he won the race to the line. Cooper brought out full points with the conversion and Selkirk's lead was cut to a couple of points.
Selkirk seemed a bit deflated at this turn of events and it was Kelso who were gaining the upper hand during the second quarter. Cooper struck the upright with a penalty on the half hour mark but minutes later Dom Buckley crossed over for Kelso's second try after a powerful driving surge by their forwards. Ben Cooper landed a penalty deep into injury time to extend the Kelso lead to 18-12 at half time.
With the elements now in their favour Selkirk chipped away at the Kelso lead with two Josh Welsh penalties and with the scores tied 18-18 it was game on. Kelso fullback Londoner Sam Hampson proved to be a strong runner and looked dangerous with ball in hand. Dom Buckley pounced on a wicked bounce for the Selkirk defence but, to the dismay of the Kelso supporters, he knocked on in the act of touching down. Fraser Harkness, returned from injury, stopped Hampson in full stride with a powerful tackle and created welcome turnover ball to clear the danger. Cooper edged Kelso ahead with his third penalty but Selkirk raised their efforts in an attempt to regain the lead. It took some desperate Kelso defence to hold out but with only three minutes left on the clock Josh Welsh put the disappointment of an earlier missed penalty behind him and successfully navigated the ball between the sticks to square the game at 21 points apiece. This was a frustrating afternoon for both teams although the visitors probably took more out of the match than the Souters. The draw was probably a fair result but definitely dents Selkirk's progress in the National League.