Clinical Melrose take their chances

MELROSE proved more clinical as last season’s Scottish champions kept their hopes alive for silverware this spring in a tough, National Cup clash at Philiphaugh.

Selkirk 12 - 27 Melrose

Scorers: Selkirk – Pens: McVie (4). Melrose – Tries: Anderson, Holborn, Ovens. Cons: Skeen (3). Pens: Skeen, Helps.

Selkirk did have their scoring chances, but, as Melrose captain Graeme Dodds admitted after the final whistle: “It is never easy here as Selkirk are a very stuffy side. We knew that chances would come if we held on to the ball, and we managed to do that although there is still a lot to work on. If they had kicked their penalties, it might have been a different game.”

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Melrose used their experience to defend well during a tough second half and then add two late tries in the final 11 minutes.

The late scores were a major disappointment to Selkirk captain Gavin Craig, whose side had competed well.

“We did have Melrose there for the taking, and there is not a 15-point difference between the teams. They got a couple of late tries which took it away from us. We were down in their half for periods of the game, but we could not finish them,” he said.

The game was evenly poised at half-time with Melrose 13-9 ahead thanks to a Callum 
Anderson try, an Andrew Skeen conversion and penalties by Skeen and Joe Helps. Selkirk replied with three penalties from Michael McVie.

McVie then kept Selkirk in the hunt in the second half with yet another penalty before Gary Holborn was driven over and Ross Ovens was first to a loose ball with Skeen converting both tries. It was a case of so near and yet so far for Selkirk. Melrose, meanwhile face a potential semi-final clash against Gala, who they are due to meet on league business before the end of the month.

Selkirk: F Harkness; R Banks, S Hendrie, R Nixon, Clapperton; G Craig, M McVie; C Lacour, S Forrest, C Gaur, A Renwick, J Everitt, E MacDougall, A Duckett, R Crockatt. Subs used: L MacLennan, M Robertson, S Renwick, J Bett, K Mitchell.

Melrose: F Thomson; C Anderson, B Dick, J Helps, A Dodds; A Skeen, B Colvine; C Keen, R Ferguson, G Holborn, G Dodds, P Eccles, J Dalziel, R Ovens, R Miller. Subs used: S Lowe, W Mitchell, A Nagle, S McCormick, R Mill.

Referee: L. Linton.