COLIN RENTON @ The Greenyards

MELROSE are firmly on track for a title treble after swatting off holders Heriot’s with a rampant performance in the BT Cup quarter-final at the Greenyards. The Borderers had the match won by half time after bouncing back from conceding an early try to touch down four times before the interval and secure a semi-final against Stirling County.  

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The home side produced some outstanding rugby, particularly in the first half, but ominously for their opponents, head coach Rob Chrystie believes there is more to come.

“The boys played some really good stuff – they were right up for it. It was up a level from where we have been,” said Chrystie, who is now relishing a busy few weeks as the chase for silverware gathers pace. .

“It’s exciting – the boys have worked really hard. It’s about putting in performances like that first half but we probably need to go for more than 40 minutes. We know what we can do when we’re really on it. There’s definitely room for improvement.”

Opposite number Phil Smith was in no mood for soft soaping his own teams failings in this contest.

“They were better than us, that’s the bottom line. I didn’t feel they did a lot to score their tries, so we should be doing better,” he said. “We were making too many errors in the first half. I was delighted with the second half. We didn’t just fold.”

Heriot’s were first to make an impression on the scoreboard with a well-worked training ground move in six minutes. A penalty was booted into touch ten metres from the home line. The throw-in was flipped back to Michael Liness, who crashed through an attempted tackle and stretched over the whitewash.

Melrose responded immediately and, with the referee playing advantage, the ball was thrown wide to Austin Lockington who dotted down in the corner. Jason Baggott banged over the conversion from wide on the right to nudge the hosts into the lead.

A second Melrose score came within a couple of minutes. John Semple kicked speculatively out of defence and his clearance was gathered by Fraser Thomson. The home full-back set off on a run that took him past two defenders and into the Heriot’s 22, where he freed Lockington to bag his second touchdown of the afternoon.

Melrose were well in control at this point and battered relentlessly at the visitors’ defence. A third try was inevitable and it came in 24 minutes with a powerful surge following a line-out, that ended with George Taylor applying the final touch and Baggott adding the extras.

Heriot’s were unable to stem the pressure and gain any foothold in the game. Another loose kick, this time by Charlie Simpson, was gathered by Thomson, whose break and kick led to a line-out 10 metres from the Heriot’s line. Melrose stole the throw and moved the ball inside to Lewis Carmichael, who crashed over between the sticks to leave Baggott a simple conversion.

Even at that stage, with less than half an hour on the clock, the contest looked to be over and the home side added a further three points to their tally when Baggott stroked over a penalty just before the break.

Heriot’s made a better fist of it in the second half and applied sustained pressure during the third quarter but were unable to breach the home defence.

Melrose did have another spell on top but failed to produce any further scoring, meaning the only  points of the second half came for Heriot’s in the 73rd minute when a mazy run by Gavin Parker carried play deep into Melrose territory and the recycled ball was popped up for Junior Rasolea to go over. Semple steered the conversion between the posts. But it was too little to cause any real real problems for Melrose.


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Teams –


Melrose: F Thomson; A Lockington, N Godsmark, G Taylor, S Pecqueur; J Baggott, M McAndrew; D Elkington, R Anderson, R McLeod, J Head, L Carmichael, R Knott, G Runciman©, I Moody. Subs: C McKay, C Crookshanks, A Welsh, P Eccles, B Colvine, A Grieve, G Wood.

Heriots: J Semple; C Simpson, R Mulveena, S Rasolea, J Rae; A Hagart, T Wilson; M Bouab, M Liness, S Cessford, R Nimmo, C Marshall, M Maltman, J McLean, S Dewar. Subs: A Johnstone, N Campbell, C Smith, N Sutherland, R Carmichael©, G Parker, H Fraser.

Referee: L Linton

Scorers –  

Melrose: Tries: Lockington 2, Taylor, Carmichael; Cons: Baggott 3; Penalty: Baggott

Heriot’s: Tries: Liness, Rasolea; Con: Semple

Scoring sequence: 0-5; 5-5; 7-5; 12-5; 17-5; 19-5; 24-5; 26-5; 29-5 (h-t) 29-10; 29-12

Yellow Cards –

Melrose: MacKay

Man-of-the-Match: Displaying the full gamut of his talents, Fraser Thomson marshalled his men to great effect and inflicted first half damage from which Heriot’s never looked likely to recover.

Talking Point: Treble winners last season, Heriot have now surrendered the Charity Shield and BT Cup and their season could end on Saturday if Currie take the final BT Premiership play-off spot.

About Colin Renton 294 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!