Currie outsmarted and outplayed the Premiership leaders to come away with an emphatic maximum points victory that marks them out as serious contenders for the title.
It was a sound all-round performance, a third win a row, full of ideas and trickery that unsettled opponents who crashed to a second defeat in two weeks after a previously flawless record.
The Glasgow Warriors contingent made a big contribution to the Currie cause – two tries and a couple of mazy runs by full-back Adam Hastings, pictured, a significant presence in defence by Ratu Tagive on his return from injury, and another try by Richie Vernon.
The Chieftains are carefully building towards excellence with a committed squad and the professional input is as important in the attitude of the players as it is on the pitch on the day.
“We’ve worked really hard on our scrum and we’ve got a lot of boys who have developed really well this season,” said Currie coach Ben Cairns. “Ayr have the best scrum in the league so we found it pretty hard down there [just before Christmas] but we dominated Boroughmuir’s scrum last week and we brought that confidence into this week. Yes, we struggled early on, but we were able to rotate our front-row really well and that paid dividends.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing. Although Hastings scored within three minutes it was actually a stuttering start by the Chieftains who let themselves be bullied by the Melrose pack until they sorted it.
By then Melrose had taken the lead. A first try by full-back Craig Jackson was added to when loosehead prop Grant Shiels crashed over. But Currie scrum-half Charlie Shiel ghosted through a gap in the Borderers defence to even things up and Jamie Forbes’ conversion ensured the home side went in at the break 14-12 ahead.
In the second half, Currie imposed a greater degree of control and Melrose were frustrated again and again. Early on, Hastings, who interchanged with Forbes at full-back and stand-off to keep Melrose guessing, glided in for his second try.
Jackson kicked a penalty to keep Melrose within touching distance but when Vernon scored with little more than ten minutes to go Currie knew they had done enough.
Melrose coach Rob Chrystie said his side could only take successive defeats on the chin and start grafting again to prevent it happening again in this weekend’s game against Stirling County.
“I don’t think there was much in the game,” he said. “Our game management wasn’t the best at times. They stayed focused for the full 80 minutes and won the territory battle at the end when we had a couple of chances but didn’t take them.”