Melrose maintained their momentum in the BT Premiership by defeating Heriot’s at Goldenacre to continue an unprecedented record of bonus point wins in each of the championship matches thus far.
The Borderers, strong in the line-out, secure in defence behind the scrum and able to attack with high octane confidence were always in command but Heriot’s deserve plaudits for hitting back in the second half and securing a bonus point from their four-try tally that included a hat-trick from Jack Turley.
Melrose, in all, scored six tries and were awarded a penalty try towards the end of the game. That is more or less par for the course for this Melrose side but their coach Rob Chrystie pointed to a serious flaw.
“We gave away too many penalties which meant that we lost field position a lot. Heriot’s have some very good players who have played at club international level or for the under-20s and they can take advantage of these situations.” he said.
Heriot’s started encouragingly and were rewarded with a penalty goal from Ross Jones for their efforts. Thereafter it was Melrose, who were in charge in the first half, their initial breakthrough coming from a try by the impressive Jason Baggott from a tap penalty move.
A sweeping attack by the Melrose backs left flanker Ruairdh Knott to add the finishing touch and Craig Jackson, the conversion points. Melrose then produced a spectacular try, made by Neil Irvine-Hess who latched on to a loose line-out ball before running 60 metres up the right touchline and then triggering the move that gave Sam Pecqueur a try in the corner.
Jackson missed the conversion kick but atoned with penalty goals on either side of half time.
All that Melrose needed now was the bonus try and it duly came courtesy of a training ground move that ended with Fraser Thomson touching down.
Melrose lost late replacement lock Aaron Welsh to the bin and during his absence Heriot’s scored through Craig Robertson, Jones converting. But immediately Melrose hit back with a fine solo effort from Ally Miller.
Two tries from Turley and a conversion by Jones heightened Heriot’s hopes but a penalty try and long range score by Thomson and the conversion by Jackson made certain a substantial Melrose win, the blow softened for Heriot’s by Turley’s hat-trick try and the extras from Jones.