Hawick 25-9 Kelso 

Hawick took their place in the Scottish Premiership final – on a date yet to be decided – with a second-half show of strength that saw them see off the challenge of a plucky but underpowered Kelso outfit.

While the game was in the balance for most of the first half, the Hawick forwards took control after the break with a muscular performance that Kelso simply could not match.

It was not all grunt, though, as Hawick also won the try count with three touchdowns to Kelso's none.

Having finished the regular season 25 points adrift of their opponents, Kelso came to Mansfield Park as clear underdogs, but gave little indication that the status was justified in a first quarter that ended 3-3 after a penalty apiece.

That period had also shown that the bumper crowd were in for a pretty feisty contest as the game had erupted into a mass brawl with barely five minutes played.

The niggle continued, and if the packed stand brought back memories of Border derbies of times past, so did the competitiveness of the affair.

Having shown they were a match for the reigning champions in the opening 20 minutes, Kelso grew in confidence and fully deserved to take the lead in the 27th minute when centre Dwain Patterson struck his second successful penalty of the match.

If the home supporters began to feel nervous at that point, the contagion did not spread to the Hawick players.

The Greens were clearly determined to deal with their deficit, and they did so in impressive fashion just after the half-hour mark when a swift attack from a scrum near the posts ended with Charlie Welsh going over for a try in the right corner.

Kirk Ford, who had opened the scoring with a penalty, added the extras with a magnificent touchline conversion.

By half-time we had a one-point game on our hands, Mitchell having cut into Hawick's lead with his third penalty of the afternoon. But even if they were behind on the scoreboard, there was a powerful feeling at that point that Kelso could be the more satisfied side on the strength of their first-half performance.

The Tweedsiders had certainly shown they were a far better team than they had been when they came to Mansfield Park last September and suffered a 61-7 hammering at the hands of their hosts.

Then again, there was also a suspicion that Hawick might start to find a few gears when they came out for the second half.

The Greens certainly started as if that was the case. From the off, they drove hard into Kelso territory, set up camp in the 22 and were well worth their second try when they sent Ronan McKean over in the left corner. That took things to 15-9 in Hawick's favour, but there was no bonus this time as Ford's conversion effort drifted wide.

Hawick's fired-up forwards continued to press on, most spectacularly when they destroyed the Kelso pack at a scrum near the visitors' 10m line. That allowed Ford to stretch Hawick's lead, which he duly did by hammering his penalty over.

The entire complexion of the game had been changed in those early minutes of the second period, but Kelso were given a glimmer of hope going into the final quarter when Hawick were reduced to 14 men. Scrum-half Gareth Welsh was yellow-carded for taking out Kelso winger James Thompson in the air, a challenge that was probably more clumsy than malicious.

Yet the Hawick pack showed their determination to shrug off the inconvenience of being short-handed with a massive show of strength as they drove a maul 30 yards downfield.

Nothing came from that effort, and they were stopped short on a number of occasions as the game moved into its final stages, but they had a nine-point advantage and only had to keep Kelso pinned back to be sure of the victory.

Yet Hawick still wanted more and they put the icing on their cake in the last move of the match when Dalton Redpath ploughed over for their third try with Ford adding the conversion.

Hawick: K Ford; C Welsh, A Mitchell, L Armstrong, R McKean; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir (c), F Renwick, N Little, D Redpath, F Wilson, S Graham, C Renwick, J Linton. Replacements: R Anderson, R Graham, C Sutherland, D Brooker, D Lightfoot, B Donaldson, M Tait.

Kelso: A Barbour; J Thompson, D Patterson, F Robson (c), R Tweedie; M Hastie, A Tait; G Shiells, E Knox, T Logan, C Thompson, K Melbourne, B McNeil, M Woodcock, C Brown. Replacements: J Glendinning, A McGregor, A Asante, E Thompson, N Stingl, M Wilson, A Sweenie.