Friday’s Bookers Border League clash was played under floodlights on a cold, still evening, with intermittent light showers and on a sticky pitch at Riverside Park.
Hosts Jed-Forest, from BT National League Division 1, were largely at full-strength, while BT Premiership table-toppers Melrose had their numbers made up by 14 members of their Storms’ second team, largely because of seven players being in the Club International and Scotland U20 teams, plus a roster of injuries.
The game could have gone either way right up to the final whistle, as the home side threw everything they had at the young Melrose visitors.
However, Melrose ended up on the summit of Pool B in the Bookers Border League, to face either Gala or Hawick in this year’s Border League Final on a date still to be determined.
Robbie Yourston kicked a pair of penalties for Jed, one in each half, while Melrose had amassed what was to be their total points tally of a dozen by the interval.
The scoring opened after 20 minutes when Melrose won a scrum against the head within the Jed 22. Ruairi Campbell picked up at number eight and fed skipper Bruce Colvine going left. The scrum half dived into the corner at the Town end on the stand side.
Four minutes later, Yourston opened the Jed account with a penalty. A couple of minutes short of the break, Melrose won a scrum five to the left of the posts and, with play crabbing right in a series of picks and drives, Colvine eventually plunged over the line for a try converted by Jason Baggott.
The second half saw a battle for supremacy between the two defences, with Jed stretching their higher-division opponents on several occasions. The scoreline kept to a single Yourston penalty for Jed-Forest after 75 minutes.
Jed-Forest: Lewis Young, Callum Young, Gregor Young, Monty Mitchell, Rory Marshall, Robbie Yourston, Sean Goodfellow, Ryan Gibson, Grant Paxton, Connor Hogg, Clark Skeldon, Gregor Law, Graham Robson, Michael Weekley, Donald Grieve. Replacements: Gary Clarkson, Jamie Hynd, Daniel Wardrop, Elliot Stewart, Garry Munro, Chris Gillon, Robbie Shirra-Gibb.
Melrose: David Colvine, Thomas Klein, Nyle Godsmark, Sam Pecqueur, Jason Baggott, Bruce Colvine, Callum Crookshanks, Cammie McKay, Ruairi McLeod, Aaron Welsh, Peter Eccles, Ally Grieve, Callum Wilde, Ruairi Campbell. Replacements – Conor McAulay, Ben McLean, Alasdair O’Reilly, Struan Hutchison, Adam Hall, Lewis Mallin, Austin Lockington.