Harris scores four as Melrose Ladies begin where they left off

Melrose Ladies 47

Hillhead/Jordanhill 17

WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE

NEWLY-promoted Melrose were fully expecting a mountain to climb as the Scottish Champions rolled up at the Greenyards confident of extending their unbeaten league record from last year.

What followed was a triumph for determined defensive tenacity and silky running skills, giving the young Melrose side one of their best ever results.

From the start, the Hills showed they fully intended to pound their lightweight hosts into submission with their powerful pack. The tone was set immediately as several powerful drives took the visitors straight to the home line, only for them to be dispossessed and left watching in awe as the Melrose backs ran the length of the field with some slick inter-passing to score a brilliant try.

It was a sight that was repeated throughout as Hills’ big pack stuck to their very limited gameplan, which did bring them three second-half drive-over tries, but more often than not saw their repeated pressure break up thanks to some inspired home tackling.

Ahead 26-0 at the break, Melrose’s talented runners always threatened, but were more often forced into defensive roles and never allowed to gain their usual fluency, but they capitalised well on scraps of possession and some astute kicking to run Hills ragged.

A great start to the season, but more challenges lie ahead, and with ’Rose being one of the smallest teams in the league it is to be hoped that the physical imbalance in such matches does not take its toll by way of injuries.

Melrose scorers: Lauren Harris (4), Kirsty Cook, Steff McKenna, penalty try. Nicola Halfpenny converted six.

Melrose: K. Cook; S. McKenna, G. Inglis, L. Gilchrist, L. Harris; N. Halfpenny, L. Skeldon; C. Macfarlane, L. Purves, M. Maciver, M. Young, B. Todd, E. Hackney, G. Thomson, J. Hall. Sub: D. Durham, R. Wood.