Melrose 36 Hawick 11
Fiona Scott reports from the Greenyards
A CRUCIAL bonus point bang on full time keeps Melrose right on target in their Premiership campaign,
John Dalziel’s men were off the mark in the 10th minute when Joe Helps slotted over an easy penalty but, for a while at least, it certainly didn’t look like the hosts were going to have it all their own way.
A timely tackle by Hawick’s Neil McColm stopped another spirited attack from the hosts and, shortly afterwards, Neil Renwick split the posts with a penalty goal.
Helps responded in kind but the visitors continued to pound away and a move, triggered off by a lengthy break by Renwick, led to a try from prop Wullie Blacklock, despite the protest of a large Melrose crowd that the ball had went forward en route.
Melrose then lost Bruce Colvine to the sin bin for coming in at the side but this only enraged the home team further and, in the final five minutes of the half, they charged into the lead. Helps adding a penalty before converting a try from Fraser Thomson. Half-time score: 16-8.
Back to full strength after the restart Melrose stepped up a gear and just minutes in Richard Mill took of on a cheeky break, selling an outrageous dummy, before diving over the line. Helps missed the conversion but added a penalty minutes later to put his team even further in front.
Credit to Hawick who continued to push. Renwick closed the gap slightly with a penalty before John Coutts was caught just short of the Melrose tryline.
A spell of deadlock ensued in the Melrose 22 with the hosts desperately trying for a bonus point and they gave themselves a chance with seven minutes to go when Helps wriggled his way over, converting himself. Their cause was helped further when Hawick lock Kieran Willison was sent to cool his heels for 10 minutes and right on full time Damien Hoyland crossed over for the try his team were so keen to get.
Melrose: F. Thomson; D. Hoyland, B. Hutchison, J. Helps, A. Lockington; R. Mill, B. Colvine; N. Little, R. Ferguson, L. Niven, J. Head, R. Ovens, P. Eccles, G. Runciman, A. Nagle. Subs: T. Pearce, G. Holborn, R. Knott, A. Skeen, C. Anderson.
Hawick: N. Renwick; N. Walker, J. Coutts, S. McLeod, N. McColm; L. Armstrong, J. Evans; S. Muir, L. Gibson, W. Blacklock, R. McAlpine, K. Willison, N. Mactaggart, K. Davies, B. McNeil. Subs: R. Graham, L. Launders, S. Graham, B. Campbell, R. Scott.