Melrose buried their shell-shocked opponents beneath eight tries as Accies’ losing streak stretched to 13 games this season.
Before yesterday Melrose, secure in the four play-off places at the top of the Tennents Premiership table, had scored more than double and conceded half as many points as winless Accies over a dozen games this season. The balance tilted even further in favour of the Borderers within five minutes of the kick-off when Melrose full-back Fraser Thomson ran up the right at a retreating defence for the game’s first try.
Accies responded by going on the attack but a couple of crash-ball attempts made no dent in the visiting defence but when the ball was passed wide there was enough space for flanker Michael Badenhurst to slip over.
It was a false dawn though and the Melrose reaction was swift: a rolling maul that travelled 20 metres towards the line where hooker Russell Anderson got the touch-down. Stand-off Jason Baggott landed the conversion.
A third try was only minutes away, following an intricate passing move among the backs which created a gap for winger Bruce Colvine to run into and dot down unopposed.
Another sequence of passes opened the door for the other winger Gavin Wood to score the bonus point try, although Baggott missed both conversions.
Melrose kept up the pressure and Accies made it harder for themselves when Badenhurst was sin-binned just before half-time. A fifth try duly followed from a well orchestrated lineout and driving maul that set up Anderson for his second score. Baggott converted to make it 5-29 at the turnaround.
Melrose started the second half as they had finished the first, on the attack. But Accies managed to get the nudge on at a five-metre scrum and Melrose were confounded when the referee went behind the posts to award the penalty try and flash the yellow card at Baggott.
Melrose immediately made up for the lapse in concentration with scrum-half Murray McAndrew scrambling over for his team’s sixth try. Craig Jackson converted.
An increasingly desperate Accies attempted to run the ball from their own line, but Melrose kept them penned inside their own 22. The seventh try went to replacement Richard Ferguson and an eighth was scored by centre Patrick Anderson, converted by Struan Hutchison, before Accies finished with a defiant flourish and a try for Nick Stephen in the final minute.