Attitudes praised as ‘Rose edge closer to the top

Melrose RFC, The Greenyards, Melrose,Scottish Borders, Great Britain. 21 Dec 2013.''RBS Premiership Rugby - Melrose v Edinburgh Accies''Photo: Rob Gray
Melrose RFC, The Greenyards, Melrose,Scottish Borders, Great Britain. 21 Dec 2013.''RBS Premiership Rugby - Melrose v Edinburgh Accies''Photo: Rob Gray

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Edinburgh Accies5

With Melrose taking firm control of the game right from the start, building an impressive lead against the wind, there was much talk at the interval of how big this win was going to be.

But in fact it took 39 minutes of the second period before the hosts collected their fourth try, bringing them the bonus point which edged them nearer the Gala total.

Melrose were clearly never going to make the errors that gave Accies victory at Raeburn Place, and their overall control was matched by an alertness and speed of transfer.

Coach John Dalziel’s main satisfaction was with the attitude of his Melrose players, who had been making a big effort all through the week and during the game. He singled out two of the senior players as well as the younger members of the team.

He praised Grant Runciman for his constant application as well as scoring the crucial try, and Fraser Thomson for his management of the conditions, especially in the first half.

The emerging Lewis Carmichael and James Head in the second row had much to do with the Melrose command of the ball, especially in the first period, and the solid application of the experienced front row meant that the winners were seldom on the back foot in tight or loose.

A feature of the opening period was Thomson’s accurate chips, the first of which set up position for the Melrose pack to take early control. Gary Holborn’s try followed some tight control, and Joe Helps, as he was to do all afternoon, added the conversion.

After an Accies-delayed clearance was charged down, Thomson followed through for the second try, and Melrose looked comfortable at the interval.

Only seven minutes into the second half saw the best try of the day, Damien Hoyland taking a perfect line at pace and cracking open the defence.

With a 21-0 Melrose lead, anxiety about the bonus try was apparent, especially as the city men hit their best period of the day, eventually getting reward for persistence with a try from prop forward Alex Allan.

Melrose saw the bonus within grasp, and with their forwards again gaining control, they reached the Accies line. When the visitors heeled from a scrum, a perfectly-timed reading of play saw Runciman fasten on to the Accies scrum half’s pass to score, again converted by Helps.