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Highland stay in National One title hunt with win over Kelso in Inverness

By Will Clark

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Highland Rugby Club kept their National One title hopes alive with a bonus point 32–20 victory over Kelso at Canal Park.

Rugby. Highland v Heriot Blues..Coach Dave Carson..Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..
Rugby. Highland v Heriot Blues..Coach Dave Carson..Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..

The victory keeps them in fifth place, but only four points off leaders Heriot’s Blues who they face in Edinburgh on Saturday in one of the tightest title races in years.

After conceding an early penalty, Highland scored two tries to take a 12–3 lead with Junior Waqanibau and Owen McDonald both touching down.

Benn Morris extended Highland’s lead to 12 points with a penalty, but Kelso scored a try to make it 15–8 at half time.

Highland took control of the second half with Morris scoring a second penalty to extend the lead to 10 points before Craig Findlater scored the home side’s third try of the match which was converted to make it 25–8.

Kelso rallied with an unconverted try to reduce the gap to 12 points, but Callum Carson secured the bonus point for Highland with a fourth try to make it 32–13.

Kelso scored a third try in injury time which was converted to make the final score 32–20.

Head coach Dave Carson says it was an outstanding performance from his players against a team which thrashed them 43–3 in the Borders earlier this season.

“At Kelso earlier this season, they hammered us and it was our worst performance this season,” he said.

“It was certainly talked about how much they let themselves and the club down.

“But we were missing our front row and had a lot of injuries back then, so we are a much stronger team this time round.

“We have turned the corner since then and put together a good run of results.

“The backs controlled the game and scored in the right places with some great tries.”

In Caledonia North Two, Highland 2nd XV lost 34–19 at Aberdeenshire and are eight point behind leaders Moray.

In Caledonia North Four, Highland 3rd XV beat Deeside 38–23.

Inverness Craig Dunain’s match at Aberdeen University Medics was off due to a waterlogged pitch while their women’s team lost 15–0 in Shetland.

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