Despite never achieving the standards they have set themselves, Melrose were still able to subdue a physical Glasgow Hawks side on Saturday to claim a second BT Premiership win.
Melrose were hampered minutes before kick-off by the withdrawal of full-back, Fraser Thomson, who suffered a strained calf muscle in the warm-up. But it was less the absence of Thomson and more the failure to play to plan that almost unhinged the Borderers.
“I’m a bit frustrated. I thought that, in patches, we were the better team, but we capitulated in terms of the game plan. A couple of players in key positions had off-days,” admitted the Melrose coach, John Dalziel. Disappointing for Melrose was stand-off Jason Baggott, a “project” player shared by Edinburgh and Melrose. The 21-year-old South African was replaced at stand-off by the Scotland under-20 cap, Tom Galbraith, who started at full-back before seizing the chance to impress at stand-off.
For Hawks there was evident relief in their improved display after a roasting from Ayr a week earlier. Hawks, having matched Melrose in most aspects, were, however, undone by a penalty try award just after the break after full-back George Horne had used his hand to flick the ball into touch, denying Melrose wing Sam Pecqueur a score.
Melrose had looked winners in the opening phases, leading 10-0 through a try by Murdo McAndrew and the conversion and a penalty by Joe Helps. But before the break Hawks had levelled the scores with a Brendan McGroarty try and the conversion and a penalty goal by Gregor Hunter. Helps converted the penalty try and kicked a second goal before Hawks hit back with penalties by Hunter and Horne to earn a deserved bonus point.