MELROSE fell to their second British & Irish Cup defeat of the season last night after a ruthless first-half performance by Nottingham helped the English side win the Meadow Lane encounter.
Scorers: Nottingham: Tries: Streather, Jackson, Calladine, Shaw, Parr, Lewington 2, penalty try. Cons: Lynn 7. Melrose: Tries: Holborn, Visser, Miller, Mill. Con: Mill 2.
The Borderers defeated Doncaster Knights in their opener in October, but losses to Llandovery and Nottingham have now followed, with last night’s first 40 minutes not to be looked back on fondly.
The hosts knew they had to get a victory in this one, having lost their first two Pool 8 matches and within the first five minutes they had built up a 14-0 lead, having come out of the blocks flying.
Firstly stand-in skipper Tim Streather, playing in the centre, went over and then soon after, full-back David Jackson scored the second try and his 99th for the club. Teenage stand-off Rory Lynn converted both and the reigning Scottish top-flight champions were left with a mountain to climb.
Things went from bad to worse for Melrose in the 21st minute when Nottingham’s third try of the night arrived. This time it came through back-row Tom Calladine when the hosts had too much forward power for the visitors. Once again, Lynn converted. And the hosts’ fourth try came before the half-hour mark as No.8 Alex Shaw burrowed over, with Lynn converting.
Melrose got themselves on the scoresheet through prop Gary Holborn before Nottingham prop Matt Parr’s converted try made it 35-5 at the break.
Four minutes into the second half Nottingham’s sixth try of the match came through winger Alex Lewington and soon after a converted penalty try made it 47-5. Sep Visser, made available by Edinburgh, then scored Melrose’s second try on his first outing for the club.
Nottingham centre Andy Forsyth then spent time in the sin-bin and Melrose took advantage with a converted try through replacement Ross Miller before late converted tries came from both sides.
Nottingham: D Jackson; A Lewington, T Streather, A Forsyth, R Crane; R Lynn, S Romans; M Parr, S Malton, M Holford, D Montagu, J Cain, R Cooper, A Shaw, T Calladine. Subs: S Wright, R Bower, J Quinn, B Wilson, F Barnham, J Cobden, R Hough.
Melrose: F Thomson; J Helps, B Cairns, B Dick, S Visser; R Mill, B Colvine; N Little, R Ferguson, G Holborn, J Gray, P Eccles, J Dalziel, A Nagle, G Runciman. Subs: C Keen, L Niven, R Miller, R Ovens, S McCormick, H Leonard, S Chalmers.
Referee: K Shorte (Wales). Attendance: 981.