Melrose find Exiles tough to handle

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London Scottish 28

Melrose 12

BRITISH AND IRISH CUP

MELROSE’S participation in the British and Irish Cup came to an end on Saturday with a disappointing defeat in Richmond.

The game carried many mistakes, as illustrated by the high penalty count, plus two yellow cards. Scottish managed to survive their 14-man period without the loss of a point, but Melrose conceded a converted try in their 10-minute spell.

The Exiles’ goal-line defence was superb when called upon, as was that of Melrose, and four of the five tries came from running rugby.

The fifth was a pushover scrum.

Exiles took the lead after seven minutes when a bright move across the line ended with inside centre Stuart Peel going in under the posts. Fly-half Dan Mugford converted.

Melrose drew level when Mugford’s clearance kick was charged down by his opposite number Scott Wight, who collected the ball to score under the posts, converting himself.

Mugford redeemed himself with a 43-yard penalty after Melrose centre Jamie Murray failed to roll clear. And the Exiles stretched their lead when full-back Oli Grove dived over the line wide on the left for a half-time score of 15-7.

Grove extended the home side’s lead with a 37m penalty, before Melrose tested the home defence, pinning the hosts onto their goal-line for some seven minutes.

The Exiles held firm, but lost No 8 Willie Lipp to the sin-bin for failing to roll clear.

Soon after, Melrose lost replacement hooker Richard Ferguson for 10 minutes after an offence at the breakdown. The ensuing scrum was driven to the goal-line and Scottish flanker James Kellard touched down. Mugford converted.

Melrose hit back through wing Alan Dodds who exploited a huge gap to score their second try, which went unconverted. Mugford had the last word with a 28m penalty.

Melrose: Thomson; A Dodds, Murray, Dick, Hardy; Wight, Colvine; Keen, Walker, Little, Miller, Eccles, Dalziel, Runciman, G Dodds. Replacements used: McGrath, Skeen, McCormack, Tamba, Ferguson, Johnson, Crawford.