Once the formalities were dealt with, the match got underway and for a while it looked as if the team who made least mistakes from dropped balls, penalties, forward passes, etc. would run out, not particularly worthy, winners.
Stew-Mel, however did have the majority of the ball and territory which they converted into a rather dodgy first try around the 25 minute mark, the scorer appearing to lose the ball. They followed this up with ten minutes to half time with a try under the posts from full-back Liam Steele. This was a largely solo effort from just inside the Kelso half, Steele weaving his way through some ineffectual tackling to score the try, which was easily converted by scrum-half Stuart Ker. The first half drew to a close with Stew-Mel a player down due to a yellow awarded by referee, Mhairi Hay, for ‘enthusiastic’ use of the boot in a ruck.
Half-time score – Stewarts-Melville 12, Kelso 0
Whatever was said at half-time must have hit home, as the second half had a lot more rugby played by both teams.
Stew-Mel again had the majority of the play for a while and scored another two tries, one from New Zealander, Hayden Lingard, and a second from Liam Steele. Both were converted by Ker, who also scored from a penalty kick. In between the host’s tries, Kelso scored one of their own, about two minutes after Lyngard’s, but couldn’t convert, leaving the score at 19-5 in favour of the home side.
With Steele scoring again (pictured above), and Ker converting, with 15 minutes left on the clock it looked all over, but Kelso weren’t prepared to lie down and spent more than half of the remaining time encamped in Stew-Mel’s 22. However, in spite of several penalty awards (why no yellow card?), they failed to cross the line (staunch defence by Stew-Mel helping when they weren’t giving away penalties), the referee blowing the final whistle with the score standing at Stewarts-Melville 29, Kelso 5.
This was Stew-Mel’s third win on the bounce, and it has to be said that once they got going they did look good for a top four place by the end of the first phase of the season and, thus, the challenge for a return to Premier 1 rugby next season. Early days yet, though…
Report and Photo – John Preece
Web – http://www.photoboxgallery.com/jlp-photography