Last Minute Agony For Bulls
By Neil Mitchell
Hamilton 13 – Kelso 17
Storm Freya did its best to ruin what had been an eagerly anticipated match between Hamilton and Kelso with only one place between them in National League 1. Playing into the gale and heavy rain, Hamilton began the match with real intent and forced the game into the Kelso 22 launching phase after phase of controlled rugby. Careful, patient play looked after the ball until Kelso were short on the right side and scrum half Crush found the space and released Ben Plant on 7 minutes to cross in the corner. No Conversion.
There followed almost 20 minutes of intense defensive rugby from both sides, as the wind prevented flowing rugby. Hamilton played out of defence on several occasions only to be denied by stout defence from Kelso. It was the wind which contributed to Kelso’s try scored by prop Blair Robertson when a Kelso 5 metre lineout was stolen by Hamilton only for the bouncing ball to be blown into the path of Robertson for the touch down and conversion by Dods. With seconds of the half remaining, Kelso were awarded a penalty in mid field and Dods took the lead to 5 – 1o at half time.
With the wind at their backs, Hamilton launched wave after wave of attacks at the Kelso line in the second half, but Kelso’s desire was such that they were rebuffed time and time again. Hamilton’s patience began to run out and their attempts to move the ball wide were blown off course by the strong wind and Kelso kept their line intact. However 10 minutes into the half, flanker Robert Brown latched on to a loose ball at the ruck on half way and broke clear to beat the defence and level the score with a touchdown in the corner.
Again the conditions limited both sides’ ambitions and the forwards played phase rugby leading to 20 minutes of play with Hamilton on the attack and Kelso making occasional forays into Hamilton territory. Hamilton took the lead however when they were awarded a midfield penalty which Mcleish coolly knocked over. As the game wound down, Hamilton conceded several cheap penalties in defence allowing Kelso to make inroads into their 22. Substitute flanker Charlie Craig was yellow carded for offside, and Kelso took the short penalty launching phase after phase of forward drives. Having drawn in the defence, the ball was finally release to the backs and centre Gregor Mein forced his way over for the final act of the match. Despite appeals that he knocked on, the try was awarded, and Kelso escaped with the narrowest of victories.
Coach David Gemmell could not hide his disappointment. “The game was ours. All we needed was to look after the ball, but fair play to Kelso, they never gave up and played to the final whistle. We’ll learn from this.”