Melrose reached the halfway stage of the Tennent’s Premiership in a comfortable second position after adding to their string of victories with a win over Boroughmuir in a match that produced a bonanza of tries.
There were 12 in all, seven for Melrose and five for Boroughmuir, resulting in both banking bonus points. But while the game was business as usual for Melrose, Boroughmuir again showed themselves to be the enigma of the championship by posting contrasting performances in each half.
By far their worst spell was the first 12 minutes when they shipped 21 points without denting the scoreboard, and even after a partial recovery they still found themselves 33-14 in arrears at the interval.
“To play like we did in the first half is disappointing,” admitted the Boroughmuir coach, Peter Wright. “We came out in the second half and got a bit of pride back. We know we can score tries, but we concede tries too easily.”
Melrose used their traditional forward strength and particularly the driving maul to subdue their opponents. “We know that the maul is a decent weapon for us,” said Rob Chrystie, the Melrose coach, who was pleased with his side’s game management.
Melrose showed their winning hand early in the game when Fraser Thomson ran a loose kick out of defence, setting up an attack that ended with Struan Hutchison cutting through the Muir defence to lay on a try for Murdo McAndrew, pictured.
A driving maul and this time a break by Gavin Wood gave Patrick Anderson his side’s second try, Hutchison kicking his second conversion. And when another rumbling maul was taken down Melrose collected a penalty try and Muir’s flanker, Matt Walker, was shown the yellow card.
The visitors were rewarded for inventive work at the lineout that gave Rory Drummond a run to the line ending with prop Dale Robertson burrowing over for a try converted by Robin Weersma.
Boroughmuir had barely time to celebrate when Melrose struck again, when after another maul had broken the Muir defence, Michael Mvelesa-Julyan touched down in the corner.
Two minutes later Anderson added an interception try converted by Hutchison, countered by a converted try by Walker, leaving Muir trailing 33-14 at half time.
Gavin Parker dotted down for Muir after a defence-splitting run by Craig Gossman but almost immediately Melrose replied with a Finlay Scott try from a driven lineout. Scores by Rory Drummond and Willie Wardlaw on either side of a second touchdown for McAndrew completed the scoring.