Defending champions Melrose welcome Ayr to the Greenyards this weekend for a top-of-the-table clash brimful of confidence after demolishing a lacklustre Accies team with eight well-crafted tries.
It was plain sailing for the Borderers while Ayr slipped up badly at home against in-form Heriot’s to lose top spot in the Tennent’s Premiership for the first time since the opening weekend.
Melrose coach Rob Chrystie was delighted to be top of the heap and going into the next fixture on a high.
“That was a pretty good performance, not a lot went wrong,” he said. “The biggest thing for me was that we were really accurate in our play and what we were doing on the pitch. It gives us a bit of momentum going into Saturday against Ayr when it will be a completely different kind of game. The whole squad is in a very positive place just now.”
Accies and coach Derek O’Riardon are in a far from positive place as they chase that elusive first victory with the number of games diminishing by the week.
The form book dictated that Melrose would over-run their opponents and so they did, opening the scoring with less than five minutes gone before full-back Fraser Thomson was cruising over the line for the first of eight tries.
Accies, demonstrating that thrawn quality which drives the players on when the whole world seems to be against them, scored second to peg the champions back.
The big flanker Michael Badenhorst got the try that offered a glimmer of hope which was, however, quickly extinguished.
Accies had to wait for the second half before applying sufficient pressure to engineer an unlikely penalty try from a pack that was otherwise being bullied and harried all over the place, and finishing with a late consolation try as darkness descended and the fresh legs of replacement Nick Stephen took him beyond all the defenders.
But three sporadic peaks in Accies’ play was not nearly enough to cancel out the troughs and deny a relentless Melrose, whose free-flowing style was suited equally to smashing through the middle or sending their fast men through the gaps or around the edges of the defence.
Melrose had notched up 29 points by half-time with both wingers Bruce Colvine and Gavin Wood adding to the total, along with a brace by hooker Russell Anderson.
In the second half scrum-half Murray McAndrew kept the scoreboard ticking over as did centre Patrick Anderson and replacement Richard Ferguson.
In amongst all this were yellow cards for Badenhorst and Melrose stand-off Jason Baggott, and a few off-the-ball flare-ups to keep interest alive as the visiting team shone brightly and the home side faded into the gloom.