MELROSE cemented their position at the top of the RBS Regional Cup qualification group with an emphatic win over Kelso at Poynder Park on Saturday, writes Norman Anderson.
The match needed an early morning pitch inspection to assure it was to be played and a healthy crowd turned up for the game.
Both sides were under strength due to injuries and unavailability, but it gave several youngsters the opportunity to play rugby at top level.
For the hosts it was an opportunity to recover from the previous week’s debacle against Selkirk. Indeed, it was a much-improved performance and, in general, they stuck to their task well, but premier league Melrose had too many guns for the Tweedsiders.
Melrose drew first blood with a Nick Beavon try, which Ben Chalmers converted. He slotted a penalty shortly after and things looked ominous for Kelso, but they struck back after 17 minutes when scrum ball was whistled along the line for full back Murray Hastie to speed over. Matt Douglas converted to close the gap to three points. Shortly after, a driven lineout by Melrose allowed Allan Dodds to race over after Kelso just run out of defenders.
Chalmers missed the conversion, but was successful with a later penalty. In the meantime, Kelso lost Terry Skeet to the bin and he was quickly followed by Callum Anderson for Melrose. Douglas popped over a penalty after Anderson’s offence.
Melrose dominated the scoring in the second half with further tries by Ruaridh Knott after 42 and 80 minutes, and Austin Lockington after 72 minutes. Chalmers converted the first of these tries, with Andrew Skeen adding the extras to the other two. In between times, Kelso scored through prop Terry Skeet after his side kicked a penalty into the corner and, from the lineout, firstly Michael Robertson was stopped short, but the second wave took Skeet over. Douglas converted.
So a bonus point win to Melrose and probable qualification to the cup quarter-final – and to Kelso the knowledge that this was a better performance.