Pit a top division side against a third tier outfit and the difference in performance levels will immediately become apparent, writes Alan Lorimer.
Certainly, that was the case at the Greenyards where Melrose used their sharper edge to hone what in the end was a sumptuous RBS Regional Cup win over Jed-Forest.
Yet despite their final margin of defeat Jed-Forest simply did not look like a side on the wrong end of a lop-sided scoreline, such was their effort throughout the match that gave them a reasonable share of territory and possession.
The difference came down to how each side used the ball and to the intensity of defence, in which areas Melrose were on top by a massive amount.
“In the second half, we were on the front foot a fair bit and in their 22 a lot. We coughed up ball three times, and they ran the length and scored. They’re clinical when they get the ball,” noted Chris Laidlaw, the Jed stand-off.
Laidlaw was one of the personalities of this game. The 23-year old, after two years in Taranaki, played with massive authority to suggest that the youngest of the three brothers has a bright future.
Playing opposite Laidlaw was 17-year old Ben Chalmers, one of three players making debut starts for Melrose. In the event Chalmers showed his pedigree with a hugely assured performance that could attract the attention of the Scotland under-20 selectors.
“Ben’s passing game and his control in that channel was excellent,” said Melrose coach, John Dalziel, who also praised another rookie, David Colvine, the younger brother of scrum half Bruce.
“DC showed he was a real threat, coming off his wing. He’s perhaps better in broken play and showed that by assisting two very good tries. Defensively, they’ve a bit to learn,” suggested Dalziel.
It was Colvine who began the tryfest with a score in the corner after just two minutes and by half-time the Melrose machine had cranked up six tries from Andrew Nagle – playing against his old mates, Andrew Skeen with a hat-trick and skipper Fraser Thomson – four of these converted by Chalmers.
But Jed showed that they, too, had firepower with a very good try by full back Martin Chisholm from good phase play and top-class distribution, Laidlaw adding the conversion.
Richard Mill came off the bench for the second half and made his presence felt with two tries made by Colvine and Callum Anderson, and both converted by Chalmers.
Skeen then converted his fourth try before adding the extra points to a second touchdown for Thomson.
But it was Jed who produced the final score of the game as veteran lock John Szkudro scored a popular try from close range, which was converted by Laidlaw.