Currie came close to beating the best team in the Premiership but ultimately had to settle for the cold comfort of a losing bonus point as the league leaders went home with another five points in the bag, writes William Paul.
Melrose coach Rob Chrystie said: “You have got to be able to work out ways to win a game and that is what the players did out there. It was a really tough game. We showed lots of guts and desire, which is fine, but when you blend that with the ability these guys can play with, it becomes excellent.”
Currie coach Ben Cairns said: “We always knew it would be a tight game and there were just a few key moments when we let ourselves down. There was the period just after half-time when we had gone in on a bit of a high having gone into the lead, and to then come out and give away three penalties in succession and kick the ball out on the full was just criminal and makes it very hard to win tight rugby games.”
The visitors showed the more positive attitude from the kick-off, scoring the first try within five minutes when scrum-half Jason Baggott took the ball round the edge of a rolling maul to cross the line unopposed.
Currie then carried the ball upfield and set up good position for stand-off Jamie Forbes to knock over the penalty but Melrose came straight back and Baggott kicked the penalty at the other end. The second try was only temporarily delayed until full-back Fraser Thomson caught and returned a defensive clearance kick, passed to winger Ross McCann and took the return to run in for the second try.
Currie bounced back with their first try when full-back Harvey Elms forced his way over and Forbes converted, quickly followed by a second from a five-metre lineout and rolling maul, touched down by captain Ross Weston and converted by Forbes right on 40 minutes to put the home side in the lead for the first time.
After the restart, Melrose were immediately in Currie faces. Relentless pressure resulted in just enough space opening up for winger Ross McCann to squeeze over in the right corner. Stand-off Craig Jackson converted from the touchline.
A dogged Currie came right back at them to poke their noses in front again as replacement and Glasgow pro prop Jarrod Firth found himself at the bottom of an untidy heap for his team’s third try. Forbes converted.
Melrose, showing the stamp of champions, didn’t panic. They won possession, retained it and bided their time until flanker Ruaridh Knott was able to make a lunge for the line and ground the ball for the bonus point try. Jackson converted.
With ten minutes still to play Currie ran everything from every part of the pitch but the Melrose defence held firm and time eventually ran out.