RBS PREMIER ONE
GRAHAM MACGREGOR reports from the Greenyards
A SECOND bonus point win on the trot was enough to see Melrose back where they left off at the end of last season – at the top of the table with the rest in pursuit.
It wasn’t the most polished performance – coach Craig Chalmers almost inevitably complaining that several tries went a-begging – but it was an improvement from the previous week’s showing, albeit that season’s opener away at Aberdeen had also produced a five-point win.
But Chalmers was satisfied enough with the progress.
“I certainly believe it was a big step-up for us this week. It was a much bigger challenge against Currie,” said the coach.
All the sides have had to cope with changes in personnel, and Melrose are no different, but the backbone of their pack remains in place, with the power and mobility of the likes of John Dalziel, Graeme Dodds and Ross Miller still in evidence and crucial to their play.
Andrew Skeen has taken over Scott Wight’s position at stand-off, and his kicking was a major contribution to Melrose’s win – and centre James King’s introduction from the bench after the break gave them an attacking edge to further beef up their armoury.
It was a lively start by both sides, Skeen and his opposite number Jamie Forbes exchanging penalty goals.
Then, with the sides down to 14 apiece as referee McPherson enforced the late tackle law, Alun Walker notched the first try for Melrose after the pack had driven well. Skeen converted, as he did three minutes later following Joe Helps’ 35m sprint for try number two.
Forbes slotted two more penalty goals to keep Currie in contact at the break, but Melrose were very much in charge. Skeen added his second penalty goal before Fraser Thomson, Skeen and Bruce Colvine ramped up the pressure with further tries.
Two conversions by Skeen produced the additional points, and although Mark Cairns picked and drove for Currie’s only try, which Forbes converted, Melrose were already in full control and well on their way to victory.
Melrose: F. Thomson, A. Dodds, J. Murray, C. Murray, J. Helps, A. Skeen, S. McCormick, C. Keen, A. Walker, G. Holborn, R. Miller, G. Elder, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, G. Dodds. Subs: R. Ferguson, K. Cooney, P. Eccles, B. Colvine, J. King.