National One: Melrose come out on top in tussle against old rivals Ayr

Heriot's Blues jump into second place after scalping Highland at Canal Park

Melrose came out on top against old rivals Ayr. Image: Douglas Hardie
Melrose came out on top against old rivals Ayr. Image: Douglas Hardie

MELROSE are the only unbeaten side left in Tennent’s National League Division One after they secured a last minutes win over Ayr at the same time as Highland lost against Heriot’s Blues on Saturday.

Over recent years Melrose-Ayr games have always been highly competitive and this week five clash was no different. A Donald Crawford penalty put the hosts 3-0 up at Annay Road before Ayr scored a penalty of their own through Jamie Bova and then the visitors went ahead thanks to a Johnny McCorkindale try.

It stayed at 8-3 until half-time, then a Will Owen try converted by Crawford made it 10-8 to the home side in the 46th minute. Lewis Mallin added a second try for Melrose before Bova’s converted effort tied things up at 15-15.

With just seconds remaining a great break by debutant Callum Folan set up Owen for the winning try as Melrose got home 20-15.

“We knew Ayr would give us a tough game and I thought we stuck in well, especially the forward pack,” said man-of-the-match Thomas Brown afterwards. “Up front, we really took the game to them while Dougie and Donald Crawford controlled things behind the scrum. It means a lot to this team to have five wins from five, but we just take every game as it comes.”


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Melrose are on 23 points with Heriot’s Blues second after they secured a bonus point win against previously undefeated Highland at Canal Park with Oisin Quinn, Craig Robertson, John Rae, Fin Hutchison and Fin Munro scoring the tries for the Edinburgh side.

Ruaridh MacDonald and Gordon Gregor scored first half tries for the home side and Oscar Baird and Gregor crossed after the interval to pull things back to 24-26. before Heriot’s pulled away again with the final try of the day to make 24-33 at the final whistle. Highland had to make do with a solitary bonus point from the match.

“We always knew giving away points would end up in us getting punished by one of the top sides,” said Highland head coach Dave Carson. “My prediction came true in this game when we gave away two tries in the first 22 minutes, but we fought back, only to do the same thing in the second half. It’s most frustrating, and something we’ll have to work on, although Heriots are a good side.”

Biggar are up to third after a fine 50-7 home win over bottom side Dundee HSFP. In a match that was cut short due to an injury to the referee, Biggar made sure of the bonus point with tries from Mark Bertram (3), Lewis Stewart, Rowan Stewart, Ross Jackson, Ross Bradford and Conor Lavery with the latter converting five of them. In defeat, Tim Brown scored Dundee’s try with Kieran Scouler converting.

Stirling County Wolves are fifth after they put Boroughmuir to the sword 42-7 at Bridgehaugh. The home side dominated from the early exchanges to notch up a bonus point triumph with Boroughmuir only having a Scott Habib try and a Robin Weersma conversion to show for their efforts.

Gala and Cartha Queens Park both secured their second league wins of the campaign.

The Maroons were hosting Kelso in a Borders derby at Netherdale. An early Ross Cooke penalty was added to by an Andrew Mitchell try and then Cooke scored one himself to make it 13-0. A penalty by Murray Hastie for Kelso made it 13-3 at half-time. Liam Scott’s converted try made it 20-3 and Cooke added another penalty while Kelso scored tries through Arran Jackson and Fergus Common as it finished 23-15 to the hosts.

Cartha bounced back from a heavy loss at Heriot’s with a bonus point 24-12 triumph over Watsonians at Dumbreck. The victor’s tries came from a penalty effort, Nathan Moffat, Ewen Campbell and Sam Harrison with Wayne Burrows kicking two conversions.

“We had a much better week of preparation this time around and it showed on the pitch,” said Cartha head coach Thomas Davidson.  “The boys stuck to the game plan well and knew what they had to do to get the five points. A special mention goes to our defence coach Matthew Clark. It was defence that won us this game.”

National League Division One results –

05/10/19
GALA RFC23 - 15KELSO RFC
HIGHLAND RFC24 - 33HERIOT'S BLUES
CARTHA QUEENS PARK RFC24 - 12WATSONIAN RUGBY
STIRLING WOLVES47 - 12BOROUGHMUIR
MELROSE RFC20 - 15AYR RFC
BIGGAR RFC50 - 7DUNDEE HSFP RFC

Table as it stands –

Nat 1PWLDFADTBLBPts
Biggar RFC7610280861946030
Heriot's Blues75203201761447128
Melrose Rugby7610198149494028
Highland RFC7520212162505126
Stirling Wolves7421202170325124
Ayr RFC7421192176164123
Watsonian FC7331173208-353017
Cartha Queens7250246247-15114
Gala RFC7241185209-243114
Boroughmuir7250121219-982111
Kelso RFC716098258-160228
Dundee HSFP7070117284-167101

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 74 Articles
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia

1 Comment

  1. Hi i was at the Melrose v Ayr game on saturday good game of rugby.What i want to know is why was the ref for this game from melrose ?

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