MELROSE launched the new season under a new captain and head coach with a similarly confident win to many witnessed at the Greenyards in the past.
Tries from teenager Damien Hoyland, a summer signing from Boroughmuir, after 21 minutes and six minutes from the end ensured the more ruthless hosts ended the game with a bonus point, much to the delight of skipper Fraser Thomson and coach John Dalziel.
Superb forward work set up the chance for Richard Mill to test Hoyland’s speed with a crossfield kick which the youngster flew on to, and the pack again created the opportunity for centre Andrew Skeen to find a space in the Heriot’s defence on their own line to go in for the second score. Helps’ conversion of the latter score, and two penalties from the goal-kicker, handed Melrose a comfortable 18-0 half-time lead.
Heriot’s, however, revealed their threat in the third quarter, their pack growing in confidence and, led by No.8 Jason Hill, openside flanker Chris Mulligan and the strong-running Keith Buchan, dominated possession for spells after the break. But they lacked precision against a formidable Rose defence. Graham Wilson slotted a penalty, but then wing Colin Goudie showed his tremendous pace to sprint on to a neat chip and just beat Bruce Colvine to the touchdown.
Hill nearly put Goudie in again minutes later before, with Edinburgh pros Perry Parker and Harry Leonard bringing their influence to bear, Colvine and Hoyland righted the Melrose ship. The scrum-half latched on to the winger’s break for the third try and the wing finished off Colvine’s long kick ahead.
Edinburgh’s young pro hooker George Turner rewarded Heriot’s effort with a last-minute score, but the points remained firmly in Melrose’s grasp.