Spectators at to-day’s Tennent’s National 1 match had hardly taken their seats, on a dull and cold, but dry afternoon, when Frankie Robson chipped ahead, collected and dotted down for the opening try converted by Craig Dods. Then, on five minutes, Kelso chipped again chipped the ball past the Melrose defence and Andrew Ford scrambled the ball for an unconverted try. Dods was wide with a penalty at eight minutes, but, three minutes later, Robson, from the Melrose 10m line, jinked past several Melrose defenders to score a try converted by Dods. At 19 minutes, with the referee playing advantage for a Kelso off-side, Donald Crawford fell over his own feet and knocked on just short of the try line. Play was brought back for the penalty and Crawford atoned by kicking the penalty to put Melrose on the score-sheet. Three minutes later, after a fine passage of play, Keiran Clark scored an unconverted try, but within a couple of minutes Richard Ferguson was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on. The Kelso bonus point try came three minutes later when Kelso won a scrum 5 against the head with Paudie Lawlor claiming the try and Dods the conversion. Six minutes short of the break Lawlor was sin-binned for illegal handling on the ground. Melrose took the scrum instead of the kick and as a result Ruairidh Lindsay scored and Crawford converted. Kelso ended the half by splitting the Melrose defence with Dwain Patterson racing into the right corner for a try well converted by Dods from the touchline.
Half time – Kelso 33 Melrose 15.
Within a minute of the re-start, and with the wind behind him, Crawford decreased the leeway with a penalty. At 50 minutes Gareth Walker being more interested in throwing his way around than playing rugby was sent to the sin-bin for his efforts. Two minutes later, after a series of plays, the ball was chipped left for Clark who scored an unconverted try in the left corner. With 59 minutes played Melrose won a scrum on their own 22 and after great handling by the Melrose threequarters Clark scored his hat-trick and the Melrose bonus point try converted by Crawford. With time running out fast Kelso were penalised twice in front of the posts and instead of taking the points to tie the scores Melrose opted for scrums, but, unfortunately, their efforts came to nil.
Kelso 33 Melrose 30
Kelso – Murray Hastie, Mark Wilson, Andrew Thomson, Frankie Robson, Dwain Patterson, Craig Dods, Andy Tait, Andrew Ford, Euan Knox, Gareth Clark, Angus Common, Alex Thomson, Archie Cowans, Fergus Common, Kevin Dryden. Replacements – Allan Frame, Scott Hilton, Gareth Walker, Paudie Lawlor, Arran Jackson.
Melrose – Keiran Clark, Lewis Mallin, Gary McWilliam, Christiaan Smit, Archie Spenser, Donald Crawford, Ethan McVicker, Will Owen, Richard Ferguson, Jack Dobie, Thomas Brown, Craig Fairbairn, Ben McLean, Andrew Bradfield, Ruairidh Lindsay. Replacements – Jake Fairley, Gregor Lindsay, Grant Runciman, Douglas Crawford, Roly Brett.
Referee – David Young