A sensational victory for Melrose at the reigning Premiership champions marked the Greenyards men’s return to being serious title contenders.
Melrose finished down in sixth last term after winning the league in the two previous seasons, and also went on to agonisingly lose the Scottish Cup final to Ayr.
But with fresh faces and new coach John Dalziel, ’Rose have started the new season in perfect fashion, with Saturday’s 22-point win at Millbrae surprising even the most optimistic of supporters.
The visitors trailed 11-8 at the break, their points coming from an Austin Lockington try and an Andrew Skeen penalty to Ayr’s two Peter Jericevich three-pointers and a Ross Curle touchdown.
However, Melrose came storming out at the start of the second half and restored their lead through Peter Eccles’ try and prop Nick Beavon’s close-range effort.
When Ayr lost Scott Sutherland and Ross Curle to the sin-bin, Melrose took the chance to kill off any home hopes of a revival with Fraser Thomson’s cracking try and a much-deserved score from scrum half Bruce Colvine, alongside a penalty from Edinburgh professional Harry Leonard.
Melrose have reached the top of the Premiership – the task now is to remain there.
Melrose: F. Thomson, D. Hoyland, A. Skeen, J. Helps, A. Lockington, R. Mill, B. Colvine; N. Little, R. Ferguson, N. Beavon, P. Parker, R. Ovens, P. Eccles, G. Runciman, G. Dodds. Subs: C. Keen, G. Holburn, J. Head, A. Dodds, H. Leonard.