Melrose manage to throw away 26-point lead at home

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Melrose 35

Dundee HSFP 37

PREMIER A

ATHOLL INNES reports from The Greenyards

TIME was not on Melrose’s side in a dramatic finale.

Craig Chalmers’ outfit had the game “done and dusted” going into the last quarter before a disintegration of humongous proportions struck at the heart of the Scottish champions.

Simply put, Melrose lost the game after leading 35-9 and referee James Matthew added to the home team’s woes by playing 10 minutes of injury time.

Dundee won the match with the final kick of the game to leave the Melrose dressing room one of despair and disbelief.

“It is difficult to know what to say,” said the club’s rugby director Mike Dalgetty. “I have no idea where the referee found that much injury time, but you have to play to the final whistle.”

Melrose lost the place as Dundee fought back magnificently, but in truth, no side should lose such a huge lead.

“We are very disappointed as it was a game that we looked comfortable to win,” Dalgetty added. “I thought that games were 40 minutes each half, and we played 50. I had no idea where it came from at all.”

It was coach Ian Rankin’s first ever win the club on the ground and he said: “It’s a funny old game. Melrose maybe took their eye off the ball, but we dug in and took our chances really well. The match is never over until the final whistle. It was an important win for us as we always hear of Currie and Ayr being the main challengers to Melrose and no-one mentions Dundee.

“That was used to inspire the players and they all stuck in.”

It was plain sailing for Melrose after Ross Ovens charged down Cam Brown’s kick for the opening try following a good start by Dundee, and Fraser Thomson and Bruce Colvine turned on the pace for two tries, which, along with two Andrew Skeen conversions and three penalties, gave Melrose a 28-9 interval lead, Dundee keeping in touch with three Jack Steele penalties.

Skeen scored the fourth try and converted to bring his points tally for the season to 215 for the season.

However, Dundee ‘longed’ for the banks of the silvery Tay as tries from Richie Hawkins, a penalty try after Melrose had been penalised regularly bringing down the scrum, Neil Dymock and finally Cameron Wyper led to the upset, with Brown adding the vital conversions.

Thanks largely to maths, Melrose stayed at the top of the table, but Dalgetty added: “It’s a missed opportunity.”

Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Dodds, B. Dick, C. Murray, J. Helps; A. Skeen, B. Colvine; N. Little, R. Ferguson, G. Holborn, S. Johnston, R. Miller, R. Ovens, G. Runciman, G. Dodds. Subs: P. Tamba, C. Keen, D. Crawford, S. McCormick, C. Hardie.