Edinburgh Accies 23
RBS PREMIER ONE
ATHOLL INNES reports from The Greenyards
MELROSE do not expect an easy ride at Netherdale this weekend despite a five-try bonanza over a struggling, but never-give-up, Edinburgh Accies at The Greenyards.
At times, the Melrose performance creaked as Accies strived to ease out of the relegation zone. They failed, but it was all so close.
That they did was thanks to dogged Melrose defence in the final minutes – as a win was necessary to keep the pressure on leaders Gala.
Accies, boosted by the inclusion of pro players Andrew Kelly and Lewis Niven, defied the odds that again threatened to derail the champions, while Scott Wight, on loan from Glasgow Warriors, was less impressive.
Not having the opportunity to train with his own men is one of the difficulties facing pro players who are released to their clubs.
Assistant coach John Dalziel again had to watch from the sidelines and said: “I am happy with the result, but not the performance.”
And skipper Graeme Dodds, who missed the defeat at Stirling, answered his critics with a couple of tries in the second half to ease the pressure.
“We kept letting Accies back into the game,” he said. “We were totally focussed on this match and told by Craig Chalmers not to think about the Gala game.
“I think that we made it difficult for ourselves and we showed dogged defence at the end to hold them out.”
The Scottish champions had to dig deep in the final minutes to defend their home record.
Melrose, who led 17-13 at half-time through tries by Allan Dodds, Glasgow Warrior Wight and Nick Beavon, added the bonus point through the Graeme Dodds double, while Wight and Andrew Skeen were successful with only two kicks.
Accies scored a double thanks to Jamie Sole and Jake Knight, while Ruairidh and Euan Bonner shared the goal points.
So the stage is set for a Netherdale showdown. But fans need to realise that nothing will be finally decided this Saturday afternoon.
Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Dodds. J. Murray, C. Murray, J. Helps; S. Wight, S. McCormick; C. Keen, A. Walker, N. Beavon, G. Elder, R. Miller, S. Johnson, G. Dodds, G. Runciman. Subs: R. Ferguson, R. McLeod, R. Ovens, A. Skeen, B. Dick.