Melrose 32 Hawick 8
Team work and good execution of training ground work proved to be the decisive factor in Melrose’s bonus point victory against a Hawick side that lacked discipline on Saturday.
The Greens were twice shown yellow in the first half on the back of a slew of penalties against them and in the end it proved costly.
Rory Hutton and Matt Landels were shown the yellow card in the space of two minutes in the opening half leaving Hawick with just 13 men on the field.
In the event the losses effectively killed off Hawick’s challenge even if the effect did not kick in until the last quarter.
Hutton scored a gem of a try to underline his natural running skills. But that was to be the only five pointer for a Hawick side whose indiscipline in the first half was punished by two penalty goals from Richard Mill who also converted a try by prop Nick Beavon leaving Melrose with a 13-5 advantage at the interval.
But the Melrose win was about much more than capitalising on Hawick’s lack of discipline. This was a victory founded on team work and carrying out well rehearsed moves.
Melrose were bolstered by the presence of Edinburgh’s recent signing, Hugh Blake, and his Murrayfield colleague, Damien Hoyland. The former looked sharp in attack and gritty in defence and had a hand in two of the three Melrose second half tries, the first against the run of play.
A penalty goal early in the second half by Neil Renwick reduced the Melrose lead to just five points but after having to defend fiercely Melrose delivered a crushing blow from a finely judged cross kick by the impressive Mill. Hoyland collected the ball before sending full back Fraser Thomson in.
Then it was Blake’s turn to put Thomson on course for the line and a second score for the Melrose full back. Mill added the extras to both tries to put Melrose into a commanding lead. All that was needed for Melrose was a fourth try and it was replacement wing Callum Anderson who duly obliged with a score in the corner to grab the bonus point, making his side’s position in the top four all the more secure.