Kelso v West 18/2/17
Result: 55 - 17
West made the long journey to Kelso in the Borders with the knowledge that going to Poynder Park, home of table toppers Kelso RFC would be their equivalent of entering the lion’s den. The result reflects this but does not reflect the effort put in by the West players in trying, and nearly succeeding, to come away with at least a losing bonus point.
West were playing into a fairly strong westerly wind in the first half and had a slow start against a strong attack by the home side. Within 8 minutes the visitors found themselves two tries down, one of which was converted. Score 12 – 0.
West then started to get more into the game and it was a piece of magic by lock Mark Jenkinson who used unlikely soccer skills to kick the ball into his own hands and excellent interplay along the line saw captain Jamie McAulay score. Stand off Blair Smith converted to take the score to 12 – 7.
This however only had the effect of motivating the home side to take complete control of the game, scoring a further three tries in the second quarter, two of which were converted and the bonus point gained. Just on the half time whistle West winger Fintan Cuthberston finished off a good break up the wing to score in the corner. Unfortunately the conversion kick was charged down giving a half time score of 31 – 12.
With the wind in their favour in the second half West started positively with a good break by winger Mark Davis being taken on by centre Sandy only being stopped by a high tackle and penalty to West. With the knowledge that a penalty conversion would not suffice it was decided to kick to touch but the resulting drive was repulsed and the home side cleared. The Kelso No.8 then seemed to slice through the West defence like a knife through butter to add another, subsequently converted, try. With 60 minutes on the clock West gained a result from extended pressure on the home line with Jamie McAulay touching down from a well driven maul to take the score, with the conversion being missed, to 38 -17.
West then threw caution to the wind in a valiant attempt to get the fourth and bonus point try, almost succeeding with one drive on the home line. This all out attempt to get the bonus led however to gaps in the West defence which a quality side like Kelso had no difficulty in finding and they ran in another two tries and a penalty before the whistle finally blew with a final score of 55 – 7.
Kelso were superior to West in both their handling and attacking skills but the West players can take satisfaction in their commitment and scoring three tries against a quality side.
West now have a rest Saturday with the Internationals on this weekend and the next game is at Burnbrae on the 4th March against Aberdeenshire.