ONLY two games, and therefore four teams, to choose from this week, but there was still fierce competition in a number of positions – not least at hooker, with Russell Anderson scoring a hat-trick of tries and also putting in a significant shift in defence, which means he sneaks into the team ahead of opposite number Grant Stewart of Glasgow Hawks and the increasingly impressive youngster Robbie Smith of Ayr.
Steven Longwell returned excellent stats and was the cornerstone of a dominant scrum, which edges him into the team at tight-head prop, despite the major blot on his copybook of being of being one of two Ayr players yellow-carded in the first half – which was crucial in handing Currie Cheiftains the initiative. Robin Hislop, also of Ayr, is at loose-head.
In the second-row, the industrious Mike Vernel of Currie Cheiftains lines up with Iain Moody, who was a key figure in Melrose’s line-out, which was the Borderers’ most potent attacking weapon on Saturday.
Not for the first time this season, Tommy Spinks of Ayr put in a monstrous shift at blindside flanker for Ayr, which edges him ahead of the hard-running Rhys Davies of Chieftains and the industrious Ruaridh Knott of Melrose.
Openside flanker Grant Runciman and number eight Ali Miller led the charge for Melrose in a successful physical battle.
Behind the scrum, Grant Anderson was statistically the busiest of the four contenders at full-back but the yellow-card he picked up in the first half counted against him; and the excellent all-rounder Jamie Forbes of Currie Chieftains may have got the nod ahead of the Ayr man anyway.
Kyle Rowe’s well taken try from Ross Thompson’s cross-field kick was the best of eight scores in the Glasgow Hawks versus Melrose match, and was enough to earn him the number 11 jersey; while the right-wing spot is given to his team-mate Sam Yawayawa.
Bobby Beattie of Glasgow Hawks, who switched from full-back to outside centre before kick-off, made a strong case for inclusion in attack and defence, but misses out to opposite number Nyle Godsmark, who showed great strength, pace and determination in scoring the first of Melrose’s five tries.
Inside him is the peerless Currie Chieftains midfield axis of Robbie Nelson in the 12 shirt, Adam Hastings at stand-off and Charlie Shiel (despite some wayward passing) at scrum-half.
15. Jamie Forbes (Currie Chieftains)
14. Sam Yawayawa (Glasgow Hawks)
13. Nyle Godsmark (Melrose)
12. Robbie Nelson (Currie Chieftains)
11. Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Hawks)
10. Adam Hastings (Currie Chieftains)
9. Charlie Shiel (Currie Cheftains)
1. Robin Hislop (Ayr)
2. Russell Anderson (Melrose)
3. Steven Longwell (Ayr)
4. Mike Vernel (Currie Chieftains)
5. Iain Moody (Melrose)
6. Tommy Spinks (Ayr)
7. Grant Runciman (Melrose)
8. Ali Miller (Melrose)