by STUART RUTHERFORD
IT has been a season of mixed emotions for Melrose club captain Bruce Colvine. Although his side ended their league campaign with just two defeats to their name and now face-off against Ayr in today’s BT Premiership play-off Grand Final, the 26-year-old was forced to watch much of the action from the sidelines after suffering a broken ankle in only the third game of the campaign.
As the Greenyards outfit begin a run of three finals in eleven days, the scrum-half – who has since made a full recovery – is champing at the bit to play his part in what could be a momentous two week period in the club’s history.
“The boys have worked extremely hard to put us in this position, but we’re well aware that its not over yet, and there is still a lot to play for. There is the Scottish Cup, as well as the Border League, so the competitions really do come one after another at this time of year,” said Colvine.
“With so many games in quick succession, it is obviously tough on your body, but with the chance to win silverware on the line, you’re never going to turn down the chance to keep playing.”
“I think if you can get that winning mentality and confidence, it really helps roll all the competitions into one. It definitely does help if you can win one, and build on it. It probably makes it slightly easier, I suppose, but there’s no doubt there has been a lot of hard work gone into putting us in this position.”
Melrose and Ayr have been involved in a number of epic tussles over the years and this weekend’s encounter is likely to be no different. Although Colvine missed both matches between the two clubs during the regular season – with each side claiming a home victory – he is no stranger to the rivalry between the two powerhouses of the Scottish club game. He was on the wing during last season’s 48-10 play-off semi-final defeat against the west-coast side.
“I think both team always give it their all when we face each other. We’ve had some good ding-dong battles in the past couple of seasons and I expect this weekend’s clash to be no different. Both teams tend to bring their A game when we meet each other, so I think it will be a very tough contest,” he said.
“It’s always nice to play at the Greenyards, and have that home advantage, and it’s obviously just a seven day turnaround to get onto another big, exciting challenge.”
Colvine, alongside vice-captain Grant Runciman, have both risen through the youth set-up at Melrose before becoming part of the team crowned Scottish champions in 2014. The squad is largely made up of players from outside the small Border town but the scrum-half believes that winning the BT Premiership at The Greenyards would mean just as much to the players who aren’t homegrown talent as it will to the natives.
“I think anybody that plays for the team, when they put on that Melrose jersey, it means exactly the same as it would for me. Being a local lad, of course I know the history behind the club, but I think that the players who join the squad, all buy into it. Personally, that feeling of winning the treble would be outstanding.”