The Melrose machine motors on. This was their 12th league outing of the season, and their 12th bonus-point win. It was by no means the easiest victory of the campaign for the Greenyards club, but once they got a pre-half-time wobble out of the way they were well worthy of the five points.
Glasgow Hawks played well on the whole, and if they maintain this level of performance against less formidable opponents they should get back to winning ways before long. But this was a fourth consecutive loss for Finlay Gillies’ team, and their hopes of making it into the play-offs have faded considerably.
It was all Melrose for the opening half-hour, in which they scored two tries and might well have got one or two more. The first came after eight minutes, when Nyle Godsmark simply refused to be halted in the tackle and kept powering on to the line, and the second came from a lineout drive in which Russell Anderson applied the coup de grace. Craig Jackson had missed the first conversion attempt but was on target with the second to give the Borderers a well-deserved 12-0 lead, but they then had Angus Runciman yellow-carded for a high tackle and spent the rest of the half on the back foot.
Just as Melrose had done, Hawks kicked the penalty to touch, drove the lineout, and relied on their hooker, Grant Stewart, to complete the score. Stewart got his second try shortly before the break from another pushover, and with both conversion attempts and a penalty missed, Hawks went in at the break just 12-10 down.
Back to 15 men, Melrose got back on top, and stretched their lead with another pushover score from Anderson, converted by Jackson. It was a predictable formula, but one which the Hawks were unable to stop, as the hooker demonstrated on the hour mark by completing his hat-trick from another drive.
Hawks hit back with the most pleasing try of the day, an excellent kick to the left corner by Ross Thompson which Kyle Rowe rounded off. The conversion made it 17-26 and gave them hope of a late comeback, but Melrose soon snuffed out such optimism with another drive-over try, this time scored by Grant Runciman. Jackson rounded off the scoring with a penalty in the last minute.
With 60 points out of a possible 60, Melrose are clearly going to have home advantage in the top-four play-offs. They only need to lose once at that stage, of course, for all their good work to count for nought, but they appear to have perfected their recipe for success.