Falkirk go down to leaders Kelso

Falkirk's performance improved but they were edged out by Kelso
Falkirk's performance improved but they were edged out by Kelso
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Although much improved compared to the previous week’s debacle at Biggar, Falkirk went down narrowly to Group C leaders Kelso in their last home league fixture of the season.

With both sides showing their early intent to play open attractive rugby on a perfect surface Falkirk drew first blood when full back Jonny Hope converted a penalty in the 10th minute, only for his counterpart Keiran Wilkinson to reply.

However, the visitors found their rhythm not long afterwards and subjected Falkirk to a sustained piece of pressure on their five metre line, which initially the Sunnysiders defended stoutly to a man only for them to give away another soft try by allowing Craig Renton an easy run in under their posts, which Wilkinson converted in the 28th minute.

Countering within three minutes a good passage of play and lead up work by Falkirk saw Jonny Hope convert his second penalty of the afternoon.

Alas Kelso struck back in the 39th minute when hooker Chris Riddell crashed over from a five metre ruck for an unconverted try for a half time score of Falkirk 6 Kelso 15.

The opening ten minutes of the second half was a pretty nip and tuck affair until Outside Centre Richard Minto rounded off a neat handling move in Falkirk’s 22 metre area with an unconverted try in the 52nd minute to extend Kelso’s lead to 14 points, and they were not finished yet.

Shortly into the last quarter a strong run skirting the left hand touchline produced a try for left winger Greg Minto, with Wilkinson slotting over the easy conversion.

Nevertheless Falkirk countered in style in the 71st minute when lock forward Keepa Mewett broke clear away just outside Kelso’s 22 metre line and had blind side wing forward Jeff Lepa on his shoulder to take the scoring pass and Hope presently added the conversion.

Regrettably, in what had been a clean and keenly contested game, a maul near Kelso’s last quarter of the field erupted and turned nasty in the last minute of regulation time.

Consequently, after consulting the touch judge, referee Andy Ireland red carded Keepa Mewett, ironically in his last match for Falkirk, as well as one of Kelso’s forwards and yellow carded another.

The remainder of the encounter was played in fine spirit and in fact Falkirk went on to score an unconverted try deep into injury time, when after a mazy run from Hope which saw the ball switch from one side of the field to the other Niall Lear raced through for the touchdown to give Falkirk some reward for their efforts.