CRAIG Chalmers’ five-minute appearance may not have been the most influential of his career, but there was no lack of emotion, both on and off the field, as the 36-year-old brought down the curtain on his playing days in Melrose’s last home game of the season at the Greenyards.
After becoming the first recipient of the Melrose Members Trophy, the 60-times capped stand-off carried out his joint coaching duties before making his 200th Melrose appearance in the closing minutes. "I was told I’d played 199 games for Melrose and asked if I fancied five minutes," he said. "It persuaded me to put the boots on one more time."
Exchange penalty goals by respective stand-offs Scott Wight and James Noonan were the prelude to Melrose’s opening try - an excellent flowing move off a scrum, finished by flanker Ross Miller.
Noonan slotted a second penalty goal to reward good Ayr pressure, but a storming drive to the line ensured Melrose held a clear lead at the break after Karne Kaufana romped over for Wight to convert.
Noonan goaled another penalty, only for Melrose to reply with a second try for Kaufana. His replacement Geoff Caldwell made a fourth try to secure the bonus point and kill the game - thankfully for Chalmers, whose late cameo coincided with a Paul Burke consolation try for Ayr which Noonan converted.
Scorers: Melrose: Tries: Kaufana 2, Miller, Caldwell. Cons: Wight 2. Pen: Wight. Ayr: Try: Burke. Con: Noonan. Pens: Noonan 3.
Melrose: B Watson; D Whiteford, J Murray, K Kaufana, M Robertson; S Wight, G Thomson; R Higgins, W Mitchell, I Cornwall, G Dodds, S Aitken, L Robson, R Miller, S Johnson. Subs used C Chalmers, G Caldwell, D Whiteford, C Crawford, J Bradburn.
Ayr: J McClune; O Scott, K Bruning, N Lavelle, M Richardson; J Noonan, M Goldie; S Fenwick, C Hepburn, S Kerr, S Lines, D Kelly, S Heaton, G Tippet, P Burke.
Referee: G Dunan.