ROME wasn’t built in a day.
And by the same token, Hawick’s problems were never going to be solved in two training sessions with new coach Phil Leck.
The task isn’t as colossal as the colosseum.
And there were signs of a renaissance for the large Hawick contingent at Poynder Park on Saturday.
The foundations are certainly there, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.
A first half of promise quickly gave way to a further 40 minutes of disappointment and, ultimately, defeat in this RBS Border Regional Cup tie.
Poynder Park is no easy place to visit, but the signs looked good as prolific try-scorer Keith Davies intercepted an attempted kick through and ran the length of the half to touch down and open the scoring after just a few minutes.
Neil Renwick kicked the conversion, but Kelso were back on level terms in no time – and to rub salt into the wounds it was courtesy of a Hawick man as Richard Minto swatted off two tackles and passed inside to former YM forward Lewis Mallin. Mark Chester added the conversion.
Still Hawick took this in their stride and looked impressive, with accurate kicking from Rory Hutton, Renwick and Neil McColm helping to pin the hosts back.
Renwick added a penalty when Donald Seed was sent to the sin bin to give Hawick back the advantage and it was no more than they deserved.
Young props Rory Sutherland and Shawn Muir were providing plenty of brawn up front, while the dancing feet of Renwick were causing Kelso all kinds of concern.
On 20 minutes Michael Robertson – in for captain Bruce McNeil who was ill – polished off a move in the corner and it appeared as though the Greens were gearing up to record their second win of the season.
But Kelso had other ideas and it was another Teri who did the damage just before half-time, this time David Lowrie chasing a loose ball and winning the race to touch down.
The home side had the initiative and that continued after the interval when they flew out the traps and forced the Greens onto the back foot.
The Hawick defence stood firm, but the pressure eventually took its toll when Stuart Lowrie crossed and Chester converted.
The barrage was halted temporarily when Renwick kicked a penalty after a high tackle on Gary Johnstone, but Kelso were soon back to full throttle and, after Chris Riddell was held up over the line, the try eventually came through Gregg Minto, with Chester adding the extras.
In a desperate bid to turn the tide, Johnstone had the away supporters on their feet with a surging run through the middle, but he was stopped and the ball was spilled with the line beckoning.
And then Chester made it five from five with a penalty to give Kelso breathing space going into the last ten minutes.
This sparked Hawick into life but late flurries from Nick Mactaggart, Steven Bouglas, Renwick, Lindsay Gibson and Greg Cottrell couldn’t penetrate the home defence.
With 30 seconds to go in the match, Davies grabbed his second try of the afternoon and Renwick converted.
But it was to prove too little, too late as the hosts held on for a deserved win