Dogged Watsonians defence not enough to stop Melrose

Murdo McAndrew of Melrose breaks clear after evading an attempted tackle by Watsonians' Mike Fedo. Picture: Neil Hanna.
Murdo McAndrew of Melrose breaks clear after evading an attempted tackle by Watsonians' Mike Fedo. Picture: Neil Hanna.
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Melrose beat Watsonians for the fourth time this season, adding a BT Cup semi-final to three league victories that went before including last week’s Premiership play-off win.

It was always going to be difficult for the Edinburgh team who conceded three times as many points as they accumulated over the previous three games so the odds were stacked against them.

And it did turn into something approaching Groundhog Day when the Borderers crossed for their first try in the first few minutes through winger Ross McCann. Craig Jackson added the conversion.

The first quarter was played exclusively in the Watsonians half but the home defence soaked up the pressure. But Melrose shifted the ball quickly and winger Austin Lockington found the gap he could glide through to score. Jackson converted.

A breakout and fly hack took Watsonians into the away 22 for the first time. A tidy lineout and a rolling maul got to within five metres but the drive was halted. A second lineout and maul had the same outcome but a third allowed Edinburgh pro Jason Harries to score. Scrum-half Ali Harris converted to make it 7-14 at half-time.

Watsonians started the second half with international prop Darryl Marfo on to stabilise their scrum but when Watsonians spilled possession in midfield Melrose pounced and carried the ball into the 22 only to be stopped by some desperate tackling. They didn’t come away empty-handed though as Jackson struck a 25 metre penalty to widen the lead.

Melrose went down to 14 men when replacement Ali Grieve was sin binned. Watsonians added a Harris penalty to get within a converted try for a what would have been a dramatic draw, but instead Melrose are still on track for the cup and league double.