Dramatic ending sees Melrose out of Cup

Graeme Dodds
Graeme Dodds

Melrose 18 Heriot’s 21

RBS CUP QUARTER-FINAL

A dramatic finish, when two critical incidents turned the game saw, the end of a spirited Melrose bid to reach Murrayfield again in the RBS Scottish Cup.

James Head was taken off on a stretcher after contributing positively to his side’s early control up front, and in the closing minutes Graeme Dodds, after scoring a vital try, was yellow carded, resulting in Heriot’s kicking the winning penalty goal.

It was a cup tie that was never a classic, but Melrose commanded the game for long periods. The end of their usual progress to the final stages came only when Heriot’s found an unexpected urgency up front.

Coach John Dalziel put the Melrose failure down to the side never having managed to get past a six point lead. He felt that when Heriot’s hit their best form for twenty minutes, Melrose seemed to get rattled.

Looking back on the closing minutes when Graham Wilson kicked the winning points he told TheSouthern: “Our defence all day was very solid and there was absolutely no reason for us giving away so many penalties.”

While there were all too few moments of excitement early on, some glimpses of the potential of the home backs was encouraging for the thin crowd. Early doubts about the weather had kept a few waverers away.

The Melrose wingers Allan Dodds and Callum Anderson threatened, with the former unlucky not to get beyond his single try, and the home half backs slightly shaded the Heriot’s pairing.

Some robust work by Andrew Nagle and Grant Runciman won valuable ground for Melrose early on, and there were moments when the home pack looked to be in total control.

It was late on before the Heriot’s eight could match Melrose but when they got it right they made their control count.

Melrose had started well enough, Joe Helps getting the opening points when his penalty kick went in off the posts. Fifteen minutes later he added a second penalty, but an occasional bit of imagination from Heriot’s kept the game alive.

Flanker Jason Hill showed the way with a try before Allan Dodds wiped it off after a smoothly executed phase of passing.

A half time lead of 11-5 was about right and there might have been more with an Austin Lockington run which deserved success.

After a long interruption for Head to be taken off to hospital Graham Wilson’s penalty cheered up the Heriot’s supporters, and a try at the corner from Colin Goudie put them in front.

The Goldenacre pack went into top gear and a 20 metre drive ended with Murray Douglas scoring. The game needed this increase in tempo, Graeme Dodds scored at the corner, Helps converting, and the last frantic minutes ended with the try scorer getting a yellow card.

Wilson took the chance to snatch victory with his second penalty goal.

Melrose: A.Lockington; A.Dodds, B. Hutchison, J. Helps, C. Anderson; R. Mill, B. Colvine; N. Little, T. Pearce, N. Beavon, J. Head, G. Dodds, P. Eccles, G. Runciman, A. Nagle. Subs: R. Ferguson, L. Niven, G.Holborn, L. Carmichael, T. Wilson, R. Knott, A. Skeen.

Heriot’s: K. Buchan; H. Boisseau, C. Ferguson, R. Carmichael, C. Goudie; O.J. Brown, G. Wilson; N. Borel, G. Turner, S.Mustard, R. Nimmo, M. Douglas, J Hill, C. Mulligan, J. Turley. Subs: K. Bryce, G. Cameron, K. Mackenzie, R. Tait, L. Steele, M. Nimmo.