Hawick 18 Kelso 14: How the Border League final was won and lost

Home advantage and Premiership experience gave Hawick a decisive edge in the end, but they had to withstand a stirring late rally from Kelso which brought a 79th minute try from on-loan (from Musselburgh) prop Colin Arthur, to set up a nail-biting final passage of play.

Hawick's victory means they have reached the half century of Border League triumphs.
Hawick's victory means they have reached the half century of Border League triumphs.

But Kelso couldn’t quite find a way through for the try which would have secured a dramatic victory, meaning Hawick have reached the half century of Border League triumphs – a significant milestone which is all the more impressive when you consider that the next most successful team in the competition’s history in Melrose with 20 wins.

“That was a typical, really tight Border derby,” said victorious head coach Matty Douglas. “To be brutally honest, I think we were miles off where we have been. In the first half we were our own worst enemy, we just kept giving away penalties and our line-out didn’t really function, but when we lifted the tempo we were pretty good.

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“We started the second half well but fair play to Kelso, they were up for it, and I think it summed up our season the way we held on at the end to claim the silverware.”

Hawick took a 10-6 lead into the break thanks to a converted Stuart Graham try and a Kirk Ford penalty, against two penalties from Dwain Patterson. A Shawn Muir try and another Ford penalty in the second half sealed the win, but Kelso stayed in touch with a third Patterson penalty and Arthur’s late touch-down.

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