Wands rise to Kelso challenge

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Kelso Quins8

Hawick Wanderers20

This was probably Wands’ biggest game of the season so far with Scottish Cup and Plate places up for grabs against a much improved Quins outfit.

The opening minutes saw play swinging back and forth, but it was the Wands who drew first blood through Darcy Graham whose run from inside his own half saw him breaking two tackles bedore touching down to the right of the posts for a fantastic score. Dean Gillan pushed the conversion just wide.

The Wands went on the offensive again and were making good ground until drop ball allowed Quins to clear their lines and bring play just inside the Wands 22 with a lineout. The Wands won good ball but Dean Gillan saw his attempted clearance half charged down. The ever-alert Grant Huggan pounced quickest to retrieve the loose ball only to be penalised for holding on in the tackle. The penalty was brought forward a further ten when a Wands player spoke out of turn and the home kicker made no mistake to reduce the leeway to five points to three. Much of the play was now focused on the forwards with Hawick’s Aiden Fairbairn, Robbie McLean and powerhouse Robbie Linton seeing a lot of action.

Jordan Hyslop returned this week for the young Teries and was having a massive influence in breaking up play and turning over ball. Wands then edged further ahead on the 20-minute mark with a well-taken penalty by Gillan following a Kelso offside infringement. The next Hawickscore was probably the best passage of play in the game, with Fairbairn, Fraser Renwick and Robbie Linton all combining, before the latter fed out wide to Sean Chapman who blitzed in at the corner. Dean Gillan’s beautifully-struck converson rebounded off the cross bar (3-13 Wands).

The second half was an altogether different affair as the Quins came out with renewed drive and fight, and a period of sustained pressure led to them eventually breaching a resolute Wands defence with a very good score in the corner. The conversion attempt rebounded off the upright.

From the restart, the Wands again found their attacking form, with Renwick doing the damage by crashing over, and Gillan striking another fantastic kick from the far touchline to put Hawick 20 points to eight ahead.

Kelso were sticking to their task, though, and another spell of dominance from the Tweedsiders saw Wands having to defend like demons again as they hung on for a hard-fought victory that should seem them qualify for the Plate.