Melrose give up league lead

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Stirling County 23

Melrose 22

PREMIER DIVISION ONE

A SECOND-half fightback proved too late as Melrose dropped off top spot in Premier One.

Playing against the elements, Craig Chalmers’ men struggled in the first period, Brian Archibald opening the scoring for County with a penalty in the fourth minute.

Stirling kept up the pressure and, 26 minutes in, the home team’s forwards rumbled over the ’Rose line, with Garry Mountfield being named the scorer.

Andrew Skeen put Melrose on the scoreboard with a penalty on 36 minutes, but Stuart Edwards’ interception try between the posts, converted by Archibald, gave Stirling an 18-3 half-time lead.

The homesters’ advantage extended to 20 points on 52 minutes as Alex Moffat was driven over from a 5m line-out.

But then came the Melrose fightback. Simon Webster’s break on the hour set up Skeen to chip ahead and score a try, which he converted.

On 64 minutes, centre Joe Helps broke through the Stirling defence and passed to Webster, who scored a try converted by Skeen.

In the closing stages, Fraser Thomson touched down in the corner, but the resultant missed conversion meant Melrose only took home a losing bonus point from their trip to Bridgehaugh.

Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Dodds, J. Murray, J. Helps, S. Webster; A. Skeen, B. Colvine; C. Keen, R. Ferguson, N. Beavon, R. Ovens, P. Eccles, G. Elder, R. Miller, G. Runciman. Subs: A. Walker, R. McLeod, S. Johnson, S. McCormick, C. Murray.