Too close for comfort at the Greenyards

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Melrose44

Heriot’s43

A match seemingly flowing freely in favour of Melrose produced a most bizarre ending after Heriot’s fought back from an apparently doomed position to come within a point of a draw, writes Alan Lorimer.

Melrose looked to be heading for a comfortable win when they led 44-22 with the end of the match in sight, but the Goldenacre men, with three tries in a 12-minute injury spell, changed the direction of the tide and all but wrenched the game from the Borderers.

“We were really disappointed with that end period,” said Melrose coach John Dalziel.

“To concede 21 points from that position is ridiculous. We came out today to make a statement against one of the joint leaders in the league, but these last three tries by Heriot’s really took the shine off our performance.”

Dalziel’s men allowed the visitors to find gaps all too easily, albeit the Goldenacre side had the firepower behind the scrum to cause problems.

Yet for much of the game it was Melrose who dominated, and notably so up front, where they ruled the set scrums and were equally devastating in the driving maul, scoring tries from this area of play and also forcing Heriot’s to concede penalties that ultimately resulted in a couple of yellow cards.

Melrose looked winners when their running rugby produced early tries for lock James Head and winger Tito Mua and then when Todd Pearce and Nick Beavon barrelled over the Greenyards men had the luxury of a half-time bonus-point with the scoreline at 25-15.

Then in a dominant third quarter, Mua came off his wing to blast through midfield for his second try before flanker Peter Eccles was twice driven over to make the score 44-22 with full-time approaching, only for Heriot’s to bag three converted tries and come tantalisingly close to victory.