TWO critical incidents turned this game and saw the end of a spirited Melrose bid to reach Murrayfield again in the RBS Scottish Cup, writes Laing Speirs.
Heriot’s 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.
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 felt that when Heriot’s hit their best form, Melrose seemed to get rattled.
He told The Southern: “Our defence all day was very solid and there was absolutely no reason for us giving away so many penalties.”
Melrose started well enough, Joe Helps notching a penalty brace in the early stages. Heriot’s Jason Hill then showed the way with a try before Allan Dodds wiped it off after a smoothly executed phase of passing. Half-time: 11-5.
After Head was stetchered off, 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 then went into top gear and a 20m drive ended with Murray Douglas scoring.
Dodds touched down at the corner, Helps converting, but the last frantic minutes ended with the try scorer getting a yellow card and Wilson took the chance to snatch victory.