Melrose will be back at BT Murrayfield in April for a second successive cup final after a performance that personified the players’ attitude and commitment on a hot afternoon at The Greenyards.
The hosts were able to give Stirling 11 points of a start after ten minutes then turn this semi-final round with an exciting display of open rugby by scoring seven tries on the perfect day for running rugby.
Robert Chrystie, in his first season as Melrose head coach, said that he was delighted with his side’s display, which he hoped would continue as the season reaches a climax.
“Stirling put us under a lot of pressure at the start and their plan worked well,” he said. “But to finish at 48-18 is very satisfying. The performance is not just about me. We have a great support team on and off the field. Competition is keen for places and we have to strike the right balance,” he said.
“These were perfect conditions and we scored some excellent tries. We recovered well from the bad start, but we hit back well and Currie [play-off tie] is now in our focus and we have to kick on.”
It was Melrose’s second win in two weeks over Stirling, who were able to recall Scotland under-20 players and field professionals Chris Fasaro and Sam Johnson, although the early injury to full-back Johnny Hope did not help their cause.
Coach David Adamson had admitted: “Melrose are a very good side. We are trying to develop young club players. We started well and the momentum was with us. But we conceded a try on the restart.”
It was uphill from then on after a positive start when Logan Trotter ran on to a delicate chip by Alex Black to touch down in just two minutes and Ross Thomson kicked penalties for an 11-0 lead.
However, Melrose clicked into gear as an air of confidence filtered through the side. Fraser Thomson and Grant Runciman, both in sparkling form, linked well to send Sam Pecquer over and Thomson scored to put Melrose ahead for the first time.
Melrose were now dominant and Russell Anderson was driven over the line and Jason Baggott converted for a 19-11 half-time lead.
It was one-way traffic after the break as Nick Beavon scored a brace of tries with Nyle Godsmark and Ruairdh Knott forcing their way over the Stirling line, Baggott finishing with five conversions and a penalty. Adam Sinclair scored a consolation try for Stirling midway through the half, Thomson converting.