Melrose marched into the quarter-finals of the BT Cup after defeating Currie in a match at the Greenyards that started brightly but which, by the last quarter, deteriorated into a slogfest.
Both sides came into the game on the back of high-scoring performances but on the dullest and wettest day thus far of what has been a kind winter for rugby, the scope for running the ball became limited.
Melrose used their backs to good effect while the pitch was still firm enough for handling rugby and then, having gained the better of the forward exchanges, went on to a deserved win, albeit aided by a sluggish start from Currie.
“We gave ourselves too much to do,” admitted the Currie coach Ben Cairns.
“When you’re 17-0 down against the best side in Scotland it’s always going to be difficult.”
For Melrose there was satisfaction of winning with a team that contained a number of promoted players.
“It was good that a number of the young boys were able to step up,” said Rob Chrystie, the Melrose coach. “It shows that because we’re working together in training they can slot in.”
After an opening period of adventurous play, Melrose struck decisively with a try from a driving maul by second row and late call-up Aaron Welsh, converted by stand-off Jason Baggot.
The Melrose fly-half, making his return after a lengthy spell out of the game through injury, then added to his side’s points tally with a 45-metre penalty kick.
The home side’s commitment to wide movement of the ball brought a further dividend with a try by replacement Thomas Klein, pictured, from a break by Austin Lockington and support from Gavin Wood. From the touchline Baggot showed his kicking skills were still intact despite his long lay-off by adding the extras.
Just before the break Currie finally broke the Melrose stranglehold on the game with a surging run by Ross Weston that took several tacklers to arrest his progress. The damage, however, had been done, Weston’s off-load allowing hooker Fergus Scott to burrow over for a try converted by stand-off Jamie Forbes.
The Currie No.10 then further reduced the Melrose lead with a penalty goal five minutes into the second half to leave his side within a converted try of the Melrose score.
It looked as though Currie would achieve their objective when they drove a lineout near the Melrose line, only for the maul to be brought down.
Currie were given a further chance to hit back when the Melrose blindside flanker Ally Grieve was shown the yellow card but despite being a man short the Greenyards men maintained their unbreachable defence to ensure a place in the last eight of the Cup.