Melrose fight their way to semi-final

Heriot’s 24

Melrose 39

PREMIER CUP QUARTER-FINAL

IAIN HOUSTON reports from Goldenacre

PLAYED on a fine Sunday afternoon on an excellent pitch, with a cold breeze blowing across the field, Melrose couldn’t have asked for better conditions for this cup quarter final.

And a powerful first-half display from the visitors gave the travelling supporters added value for money in this highly entertaining encounter.

Four minutes into the match the visitors took a quick tap penalty, with Scott Wight racing down the far touchline and off-loading to Allan Dodds who dived in for a try in the corner.

Melrose were certainly in control of the game, but were having difficulty in crossing the home line.

That was all to change, however, when 24 minutes into the match, Kevin Bryce, Heriot’s replacement hooker, was sin-binned close to the home line and a quickly-taken tap penalty allowed Ross Miller to crash over for a try converted by Wight, who, four minutes later, kicked a penalty.

At 35 minutes Heriot’s broke right up the pitch from their own 22 with Jason Hill diving in for a try converted by Graham Wilson. Then, just at the break, from a pick-and-drive situation, Gary Holborn scored a try converted by Wight. Half-time score: Heriot’s 7 Melrose 22.

The second half was barely a minute old when Wight broke down the field from halfway, passing out of the tackle to Joe Helps whose try was converted by the playmaker.

But Heriot’s responded with gusto and seven minutes later Bryce nipped in for a try from a ruck just short of the line, Wilson adding the points.

Melrose restored their lead minutes later when, from a lineout close to their own line, Heriot’s overthrew the ball which was gathered by the industrious Grant Runciman, who dived in for a try converted by Wight.

Poor Melrose tackling three minutes later let Max Nimmo in for a try in the right corner. Both sides were struggling with their passes, but neither side gave way and on 71 minutes Wight kicked his second penalty, before, just on no-side, a scrum pick-up by Heriot’s on the Melrose line was shipped left to Colin Goudie who scored the final try.

Melrose: F. Thomson; C. Anderson, J. Murray, J. Helps, A. Dodds; S. Wight, R. Chrystie; N. Beavon, W. Mitchell, G. Holborn, G. Elder, H. Mitchell, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, R. Miller. Subs: G. Innes, N. Little, R. Ovens, S. McCormick and C. Murray.