SHEER guts got Melrose over the finish line at Rubislaw on Saturday, meaning they can push Gala all the way in the 2014 title race.
Two late tries from Austin Lockington and Joe Helps turned a 22-22 scoreline into a 22-34 victory, leaving the Greenyards outfit just two points adrift of the leaders ahead of their final games on March 22. Melrose head coach John Dalziel said: “We knew very well that it would be in the first half that they would come at us hard and they didn’t stop. We had a big long journey to overcome and it’s never easy, but the lads didn’t let us down.”
Melrose established control over the game in the early stages with a try from Nicky Little. However, Aberdeen quickly replied with lock Jamie Metcalfe fighting his way over the line. With both teams battling up front, it was Grammar winger Byron McGuigan who managed make the difference, scoring a try from an interception deep in his own half.
Before long, a penalty kick from Helps and a converted try from Peter Eccles saw the Borderers take a 15-10 lead at the break.
The second half saw similar themes as the teams continued to battle it out up front. A driving maul from the half-way line saw Callum Anderson score between the posts for Melrose. Helps converted.
Grammar upped their game as their backs started to get more involved and before long the dancing feet of Erlend Oag saw him score in the corner. They kept up the momentum, playing at a far higher level than their position at the bottom of the league would suggest, and quickly reaped the benefits as Sean O’Connor scored a further try. Stand-off Rob Aloe converted, putting the teams neck-and-neck.
This seemed enough to shock Melrose into action and an increased tempo saw Helps put a further five points past the home side. Grammar appeared to still be in the game, with an animated crowd keeping them going, but an interception touchdown from Lockington, converted by Helps, put their hopes to bed.