Boroughmuir’s players will wake up this morning still wondering how they did not secure a second consecutive home league win in their battle to avoid the drop on Saturday.
Leading 12-6 with just under 25 minutes to go, they seemed to lose concentration when the game was forced to change to uncontested scrums due to injuries in the Melrose front-row.
Back-row Jackson Achilles was then yellow carded as the Borderers took advantage to score two tries and move 18-12 ahead.
In the closing moments, with visiting captain Graeme Dodds in the sin-bin, Boroughmuir did everything but score as they pounded Melrose’s line. It was not to be though and Boroughmuir are now seven points adrift at the bottom of the table while Melrose are set for a top four finish, although it is very tight from third to ninth place.
After the bruising encounter, Melrose player/assistant coach John Dalziel said: “It was a tough game and both teams were desperate for the win for different reasons. It is a big win for us because it keeps us on track for a British and Irish Cup place, but Boroughmuir certainly pushed us all the way and we had to dig deep at the end.”
In the first half, both sides were penalised heavily by English exchange referee Shane Lewis and, by the time the 40 minutes were up, the home side led 12-6 thanks to four penalties by stand-off Ally Warnock to two from Melrose by opposite man Andrew Skeen and centre Joe Helps.
Boroughmuir started the second half well and went close on a couple of occasions through winger Redha Guedroudj and No 8 Jamie Swanson before Melrose hooker Wayne Mitchell – who had earlier replaced Alun Walker – and prop Gary Holborn went off injured and the scrums went uncontested. Melrose then rallied with well-worked tries from winger Allan Dodds and centre Bruce Dick, the former converted by Skeen, and it set up an exciting finale.As mentioned, Boroughmuir could not get the converted try they needed to sneak a victory though and credit to Melrose’s stubborn defence for that.
Scorers: Boroughmuir – Pens: Warnock (4). Melrose – Tries: A Dodds, Dick. Pens: Skeen, Helps. Con: Skeen.
Boroughmuir: R Cairns; S Visser, M Clapperton, S Wilson, R Guedroudj; A Warnock, S Johnson; R Hislop, D Miller, J Latta, G Scott, A Davidson, J Achilles, J Swanson, A Rose. Subs used: N Fraser, K Coertze, N Rodger, K Buchan.
Melrose: F Thomson; C Anderson, B Dick, J Helps, A Dodds; A Skeen, B Colvine; N Little, A Walker, G Holborn, G Dodds, R Ovens, J Dalziel, R Miller, A Nagle. Subs used: W Mitchell, C Keen, P Eccles, S McCormick, R Mill..
Referee: S Lewis