National One round-up: Melrose claim Border derby win over Kelso

Stirling County Wolves, Highland, Heriot’s Blues, Ayr and Biggar also start their league campaigns with wins

Melrose v Kelso
Melrose got their National One campaign off to a winning start against Kelso. Image: Douglas Hardie

WITH The Greenyards unavailable, Melrose took on Kelso on the Annay Road pitch in the town and the hosts put in a strong performance to bounce back from last week’s Scottish Cup loss to Hawick.

The home side took the lead thanks to a David Colvine penalty and then James Brown came off his wing to score a converted try. Kelso got on the board through a Craig Dods penalty before Melrose’s second try came through Trystan Andrews. Colvine again converted.

Young Kieran Clark scored Melrose’s third converted try from his own half before Aaron Jackson’s unconverted effort gave Kelso a glimmer of hope before the interval.

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That hope disappeared in the 54th minute when a converted try gave Melrose the bonus point, Ben McLean the scorer this time. Callum Crookshank scored the final try with 10 minutes to go and Colvine’s conversion finished things at 38-8.

“It was good to get the win and the bonus point in the first game,” said Melrose stand-off Donald Crawford. “Credit to Kelso, they stuck in there, but when we got the ball wide we showed what we can do and we have a lot of gas out there so we want to try and use that this season.”

Another Super6 ‘Club XV’, Stirling County Wolves, also secured a bonus point win in week one as they saw off Gala 38-25 at Bridgehaugh. Chris Faill’s side scored tries through Brandon Mills, Nik Binning, Craig Jardine and Euan Cunningham, with captain Jonny Hope adding three conversions and three penalties.

Highland gave notice that they are going to be a tough nut to crack away from home as well as at Canal Park with a 50-36 triumph at Cartha Queens Park. And they did it the hard way, being 29-7 down with half-time approaching only for the visitors to come back into things in dramatic circumstances.

The Highland points came from tries for Conner Ross, Mick Gordon, Stephen Murray, Seamus Ross, Calum Carson, Iain Chisholm and Hugo Crush. Scott Fraser kicked six conversions and one penalty.

“It was some feat to win this one and the most amazing turnaround, especially after the fumbling, inept performance in the first half hour in which we conceded four tries, missing tackles and looking like they had never played together,” said victorious head coach Dave Carson. “These guys never fail to amaze me, although I could do without the kind of ‘amazement’ we saw in the first half!”

Ryan Flett, Juan Phyfer, Peter Barton, Alex Boyle and Ethan Paterson scored Cartha’s tries as they picked up a losing bonus point. Graeme Docherty kicked the rest of the points.

Heriot’s Blues head coach Phil Smith was delighted with his team’s performance as they won 47-24 at Dundee HSFP. The Goldenacre side is being led by back-row Martin Hughes and they shared tries across the team as they started life at this level with a bonus point triumph.

“I am really happy with the way the team played,” said Smith. “Over the summer a lot of young players have joined the club and we have put them together with guys who were in or on the fringes of first team rugby last season. You are never sure how a new-look squad will settle, but we were 33-0 up at half-time and this result now gives us plenty to build on going forward.”

Dundee picked up a losing bonus point in defeat after a far better second half showing. During that period Danny McGinn, Duncan McIntyre and Ruaridh Hood (2) scored tries with Paul Kerr adding two conversions.

Watsonians were 17-12 up at half-time at Ayr, but the Millbrae men came through in the second 40 minutes to win 48-24. Johnny McCorkindale was the star for Ayr, bagging a hat-trick of tries. Zac Howard, Jamie Bova, James Pinkerton and James Armstrong also crossed for Ayr with Bova also adding points with the boot.

Watonians tries came from Harry Fisher (2), Willie Thomson and Van Kacori, while Kerr Stoddart added two conversions.

And it is Biggar who are top of the tree after week one after they built on last week’s narrow loss versus Currie Chieftains in the Cup to defeat Boroughmuir 53-7 at Hartreemill.

National League Division One results –

Cartha Queens Park 36 Highland 50
Melrose 36 Kelso 8
Dundee HSFP 24 Heriot’s Blues 47
Ayr 48 Watsonians 24
Biggar 53 Boroughmuir 7
Stirling County Wolves 38 Gala 25

Tables, Fixtures and Results

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Talking points from Round One of the Tennent’s Premiership


About Gary Heatly 457 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.