Champions start season as they mean to go on

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Aberdeen GSFP 25

Melrose 32

RBS PREMIER ONE

MELROSE had to hold off a late Aberdeen fightback to start their Premier One defence with a bonus-point victory.

Facing their former winger Callum Anderson in the Aberdeen backline, the Greenyards men raced into a 24-6 half-time lead playing down the Ruberslaw slope.

The Granite City side had been 6-0 up through centre Warwick Percival’s boot after 14 minutes, but 11 minutes later, a quick passing move and a series of pick-and-drives set up Gary Holborn for the first try of the game, which new signing Andrew Skeen converted.

Ten minutes later, Allen Dodds put in a high kick which bounced kindly for the winger to collect and score to the left of the posts.

And just before the interval Jamie Murray added a third converted try.

The home side pegged back their visitors four minutes after the restart as second-row man Rab Barrie crashed over.

Skeen added another penalty before Percival and Murray were sin-binned.

The bonus point for Craig Chalmers’ team was secured when Fraser Thomson’s great break up the touchline set up sub Peter Eccles.

Tries by Tony McGinness and Murray Douglas, both converted by Percival, gave the scoreline a more respectable look for Grammar, but it was not enough to deny Melrose an opening day win.

Melrose: F. Thomson, A. Dodds, J. Murray, C. Murray, C. Hardie, A. Skeen, S. McCormick; C. Keen, R. Ferguson, G. Holborn, R. Miller, G. Elder, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, G. Dodds. Subs: A. Walker, K. Cooney, P. Ecccles, B. Colvine, B. Dick.