Bedford Blues 17
BRITISH & IRISH CUP
Atholl Innes reports from the Greenyards
MELROSE will head for the second part of the British/Irish Cup in Leinster this Saturday night on the back of a remarkable win on Sunday at the Greenyards.
Against the pros of an English side, the win was a magnificent effort.
There were 82 minutes on the clock as Melrose made a late surge after Scott McCormick had been pulled up short – and the referee spoke to the touch judge after Allan Dodds scored in the right-hand corner.
It was 17-17 – the match hinged on Andrew Skeen’s final kick from the touchline. He did not disappoint.
“I knew he could do it,” said skipper Graeme Dodds. “That was the best we have played all season. Early in the game we gave them too much respect and our coach [Craig Chalmers] told us to hold on to the ball after the break.
“All credit to the pack after Ross Miller set it up and we were over for the winning try. He [Skeen] is a great world-class player and I am really pleased for him.”
But this was a team effort with the only pro, Scott Wight, starting on the bench.
It was always going to be a tough challenge and they rose to the occasion.
Blues were rattled in a storming finish as Melrose turned round a 0-17 deficit at the interval to win in that dramatic finale.
Bedford began with a bang. Mark Howard was driven over in two minutes and Jamie Lennard converted. The visitors then stretched their lead when a long, looping pass allowed Handre Schmidt to score wide out in the left-hand corner.
Beavon was yellow-carded and Mark Kohler added try number three from close range. The game seemed over.
The second half wrote a new chapter in Melrose’s annals. They were back in contention as Bruce Colvine opened up the defence for Skeen to send Allan Dodds close before Alun Walker was driven over.
David Crawford carried on the impetus with his side’s second try and Skeen converted.
Intense Melrose pressure and it paid off with Dodds’ late score and Skeen’s conversion.
Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Dodds, J. Murray, B. Dick, J. Helps; A. Skeen, B. Colvine; C. Keen, A. Walker, N. Beavon, G. Elder, P. Eccles, G. Dodds D. Crawford, R. Miller. Subs: R. Ferguson, R. McLeod, S. Johnson, G. Runciman, S. McCormick, S. Wight, C. Murray.